Category Archives: Being Real

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💗

Advertisements

Come To The Altar

Hey y’all! Hope everyone is doing great. I’m enjoying a day at home with my oldest daughter, it’s a NO SNOW😭 snow day. We’ve been watching When Calls The Heart and enjoyed some hot chocolate. Sure wish we were out playing in the snow but in Alabama this is what you get, LOL. Unplanned time together is the best even when you just chill! 💗

So how are you my friend? Is there anything you are you holding onto? Is there something weighing on your heart that you need to let go of?

Have you come to the altar today?

Journaling is a very healthy way to bring things out of the darkness and into the light. You may not be ready to share it with others and that’s ok but just writing it down and getting it out is so healthy. Even if you write it out, confess it to God and throw it away its just a healthy healing process. Remember Psalm 32:3 “When I keep silent about my sin, my bones began to weaken because of my groaning all day long.”

Are you feeling any of these?

Tired, broken, hurting, hopeless, happy, anxious, empty, lost, full of fear, full of love, joyful, sick, shame, hope, rejection, worried, searching to fill a void, blessed, happy, confused, etc

Today’s Challenge:

Are you ready to really dig in and get FREE?

To walk in the freedom God has planned for you? It’s time to lay it ALL on the altar, all your feelings, everything you’re holding onto, secret sin, bring who you are, what you’re not and what you want to be….bring it ALL precious one. It’s time to take off the mask. Come to the altar and lay it all at the foot of the Cross.

Living in the Word:

Romans 4:17 “…Call those things that be not as though they are.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.”

Isaiah 61:3 To grant consolation and joy to those who mourn in Zion—to give YOU an ornament of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garmet of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that YOU may be called Oaks of Righteousness…..

Renewing the Mind:

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation is in You.

What God says about you:

I love YOU just the way you are! YOU don’t have to get all fixed up to come to Me. YOU are My priceless treasure, My special masterpiece. YOU are NOT a mistake, no I created YOU on purpose. Bring your burdens to Me, there is NOTHING to big and NOTHING I can’t handle. Trust Me precious one, expect and believe and you will see just what I can do in your life. I have great and mighty plans for YOU! Ephesians 3:20

Song of the Week:

“O Come To The Altar” Elevation Worship

Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!

If I’m being real some days this is where I find myself “I do believe but help my unbelief.” Does that make me a bad person? No, it makes me human. You might find yourself here today.

When those situations we pray for haven’t changed, sometimes we grow tired and weary but it doesn’t mean God isn’t listening or that He isn’t working. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us either. It simply means He knows more than we do and He knows what’s best for us.

He sees the beginning from the end and NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD!

But what if it never changes?

Does that mean God isn’t good? Of course not, He’s a good good Father regardless of whether our problems or circumstances change.

Sometimes the things we are praying for are also dependent on other people which brings in free will. Which I know can also be hard because sometimes we know what’s best for someone but they have to want it, we can’t force it on then. We have to trust God with them or our situation.

We live in a fallen world BUT my friend if we keep pressing into God, going to Him with our requests, trusting Him, He can change those things and change us. He will perfect that which concerns you and He WILL make all things turn around for our good.

HOPE believes God isn’t done yet!

HOPE believes God can do anything!

Hope is the anchor for our soul.

HOPE and…..FAITH as small as a mustard seed! Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD!

So today I recognize that my faith is not always where it should be, we all find ourselves there at some point my friend and that’s ok. Just tell God, He knows already and He loves you anyways.

As I come to You today and say “I believe Lord. Help my unbelief” I recognize that often I look at my circumstances instead of looking at You. Help me keep my eyes focused on You instead of what’s going on all around me. Thank You for all that you’ve done for me and my family. Thank you for loving this hotmess of a woman. Where would I be without You? Thank you for Your goodness, kindness and your graciousness. You have blessed me far beyond what I deserve. I love You and praise You Lord! In Jesus name, Amen!

My heart cries out, “I do believe, help my unbelief.”

Love,

Nicole💗

Overcoming Deep Dark Secrets….Life With An Eating Disorder

Hey y’all! Hope you guys have had a great week. I haven’t talked about this in a minute but I feel like it’s so important, not only for myself but for those suffering in silence. Some of you know I have struggled with an eating disorder for a good portion of my life, that maybe where you find yourself at today. But I want to offer hope to you, hope that you don’t have to stay in the same place as you are today. You don’t have to have the same struggles or battles, if your willing to allow God in and put the work in…..YOU CAN HAVE FREEDOM. It’s there for the taken!! While I’m still on the road to recovery, I’m getting stronger and more free every day, and you can to my friend.

So I want talk about what helped lead up to me even being willing to get help. I’m using the word willing for an important reason because if I said I was waiting on WHEN I FELT LIKE MAKING CHANGES I’d be waiting for an awfully long time. Because we can feel like every Monday we want to start over and TRY to get things right. But in my experience “WE TRY” “WE FEEL” and it hasn’t served me well.

Feelings are so fickle, they are one way one day and different the next. So waiting on your feeling to be what you want….well that day may never come. But if I make a conscious choice to say Lord I’M WILLING that’s different. I’m not giving my feelings a vote.

Our church has a small group/conference called Freedom and WOW it’s incredible! Well I went through it and right when it was time for conference in last December, I got so sick and I couldn’t go. I was so so upset, discouraged and didn’t understand at all. At the time I couldn’t see what God was doing behind the scenes and let me just say He is such a behind scenes kinda Guy.

So the 1st of January rolls around and 21 Days of Fasting And Prayer starts and prolly half way through God stuck His finger right on IT and said “Nicole now is the time, it’s time to deal with your eating disorder.”

“Excuse me Lord but I don’t have a problem.”

Now mind you I was weighing myself everyday sometimes 2-3 times a day. BUT I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM. Denial!

I had been abusing diuretics and laxatives for years. I would fast and I could fast like nobody’s business but then I’d binge…..I was struggling with something, I didn’t know it had a name. It’s name was bulimia.

So it was at the moment I realized why I wasn’t able to go to the Freedom conference. God had something more He needed to deal with me on and bring healing to my soul.

Right then and there I went to my medicine cabinet and threw out all my diuretics and laxatives. Now I’d like to say it was easy from that point on and that I didn’t struggle but because my body was use to them and needed them to go to the bathroom. It was like crucifying the flesh…Ugghhh! There’s a healing period which I’m pretty sure I’m still in, I think it will take a while to heal my intestines, body, spirit, and emotions from all that trauma I put myself through.

It’s funny how we always think no one knows our deep dark secrets because we put on our mask every day and act like we gucci. But ya know what….I know…..God knows. And the pain of holding all of it in or keeping up the image will destroy you.

So after much prayer and seeking the Lord on what to do, the first thing I needed to do was to tell my husband. Oh how I dreaded that conversation, to the point it made me physically ill, like wanting to throw up.

So finally I went downstairs and said “Honey I need to talk to you about something and it’s going to be really hard for me to talk about. Of course I’m already crying and can hardly speak. I know the poor man is prolly thinking “Ohhhh I’m in the doghouse, she about to leave me! Or she’s having a affair!”

I could hardly get it out I was crying so hard but once I did you could see the relief on his face that it wasn’t one of the before mentioned items lol. I’m being so vulnerable baring my soul, and he’s relieved I’m not having an affair. Lol😂 We can look for humor in everything.

I told him how I had been struggling and abusing laxatives and diuretics, fasting and binging. He listened and said “Thank you honey for sharing that with me I know that was extremely hard for you. How can I help or what do you want to do?” Well I had already been looking for a counselors, I thought a nutritionist was a good idea as well. So I started there. I also shared with our 3 daughters, what was hidden in the dark had to come out, so it could hold no more power over me. It was a step toward freedom.

I reached out to a nutritionist who I really like but for me I have to say this is such a tricky part of having a eating disorder. They go over all your healthy issues, keeping in mind your eating disorder and then put you on a meal plan. Well for me what I had found is that I already had such a unhealthy relationship with food you telling me I can’t have a Dr. Pepper and I can only eat these things it wasn’t good for me. Because not realizing but all my life I had been putting certain foods in good categories and bad categories and if I ate from the good category I was good but if I ate or drank from the bad category “I was bad” I would heap so much shame and guilt onto myself which kept me spiraling. Not sure if that makes sense or not, so for a while I’ve been working on just my relationship WITH food. I know there are good and bad foods and our bodies NEED the good foods but your mind and heart still need to make that connection without condemnation and shame being in the picture. So if I ate a brownie or drank a Dr. Pepper I wasn’t a bad person like I fell like I was. It’s crazy what our mind can make us think about ourselves.

Having a eating disorder for me while it is obsessing over weight and food, I’ve also learned it goes sooooo much deeper than that. It went back to things from my childhood that led up to that.

I was raised in alcoholism, with that comes so much baggage. Enabling, people pleasing, codependency, fear, manipulation, people trying to control you, you feeling out of control, and not knowing what the day would hold. I think I learned to try not to rock the boat fairly early in life, that was a safe place….so I thought.

I love my mother and father dearly but they divorced before I was 2 and my father remarried and had 3 other daughters. He wasn’t there for me as much as I would have liked him to be or at the time needed him to be. Our relationship then wasn’t as strong as it is today. Thankful God brings restoration.

I lived with my mother who also remarried 4 times and that was very difficult for me in that I didn’t have a stable father figure. Let me say upfront I do not in any way blame her. She worked hard to raise me the best way she knew how and all she wanted was to be loved. She loved the way she knew how and so did my Dad. And can’t we all relate to that? We all want to be loved and accepted, we do what we know….right or wrong. It definitely hindered me in many ways but it also helped shape me into the woman I am today.

I was molested at a young age and back then that wasn’t something you talked about and they also threatened me about telling anyone. So that was yet another deep dark secret that got stuffed deep down.

Your life shapes you for the good or for the bad and at the moment for me it wasn’t good. Things were quickly building for the perfect storm in my life.

At a young age I quickly learned that when I expressed my feelings I got in trouble, or I was told I was wrong for feeling that way. I was also told on several occasions “If you do that you can’t come back home”. I felt rejected and like what I had to say or what I felt wasn’t important. So what did I do, I stuffed my emotions down further and further. That’s what we are doing with our eating disorders or any addiction for that matter.

By the time I had meet my husband and we married I had such low self esteem. I was constantly comparing myself to other women, and of course never measuring up. I literally hated myself. I would tear myself apart. It’s so sad to say these things but even watching TV was a struggle for me. If a beautiful woman came on tv I began comparing myself to her, telling myself how ugly I was. How my husband prolly would rather have her than me. It was AWFUL!!

The devil knows your weaknesses and he will use them against you. He will whisper lies in your ears and if you’re not careful you’ll believe them and they will hold you captive.

It wasn’t until I went to Al-Anon where I started getting help to deal with others in my life who had drinking problems that I was able to get free from some of that and I began loving myself.

I can remember one day texting my sponsor with tears in my eyes from a baton competition and telling her how much fun I was having and how in the past they were so difficult for me because of all the cute young girl running around in their little costumes. I was getting FREE little by little and it felt so good!!

All the things I’ve talked about cause frustration, confusion, distrust, guilt, rejection, fear of failure, shame, people pleasing and so much more. That’s what you begin to think, act, and do.

So fast forward to going to counseling, I felt like God lead me to this specific person. I mean for goodness sakes her name was Hope!

Hope means a confidant expectation of something good.

Hope was exactly what I had been looking for, for my whole life. Not the person although she’s has been such a blessing in my life but the HOPE God gives us in our time of need.

Hope was what I needed to overcome this disorder and other things in my life that have so enslaved me.

Hope for my future.

Hope for freedom.

Hope to have a voice.

Hope to share my feelings and not feel like I’m wrong for having them.

Just HOPE!

So while I’m still on the road to recovery, I’ll be honest I don’t do the laxatives or diuretics, but on a really bad day or week in my weakness I have turned to fasting and binging sometimes, but not as often as I use too PRAISE GOD!! That’s progress. God is so good and faithful and He will do it for you to precious one.

Today I can say I have HOPE for a better life. A life of freedom. I have good days and bad days but the thing I’m finding so valuable is my VOICE AND MY FEELINGS, whether their good or bad they are mine and it’s ok to have them and express them in a appropriate way. They no longer have to be stuffed!

Learning to not be lead by my feelings but to feel them and know they are real and they are mine and it’s not wrong to have them or express them.

My job is to allow God to bring healing to me, set healthy boundaries, and use my voice when needed and NOT STUFF IT! Stop stuffing things down just because someone may not like it or not want to hear something uncomfortable.

And my goodness stop taken ownership and fixing things that are others responsibilities. I have to stay on my side of the street in order to keep myself in a healthy place.

Precious one you gotta get the Word on inside of you if want to get to the other side of your problem where FREEDOM is. Meditate on it day and night. Pick one, stay on it till it’s deep in you and them move onto the next one.

Psalm 139:14 I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.

Song of Solomon 4:7 My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves. You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body.

Zephaniah 3:17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

You are loved my friend! We all have our issues whether it’s an eating disorder or some other kind of addiction God wants you to turn to Him and let Him help you. He will take what the enemy meant to harm and destroy and use for your good. But it’s up to you to let Him. He calls you holy, righteous, beautiful, and His Trophy of Grace

Love and hugs,

Nicole 💗

Please click the link below and enjoy the song You’ll Come by Hillsong

https://youtu.be/2RmZFaruXhs

Perfect Love Cast Out Fear

Have you struggled with fear in some way in your life? I think we all do at times. I know for me I struggled with it for the better part of my life. Fear of failure, fear of rejection that’s was a HUGE one for me. Fear of not being good enough, low self esteem, yea I could go on. And you may find yourself there today. But I’m here to tell you that His perfect love kicks fear to the curb!!! Fear is a LIAR!

We all have a past, we all have deep seeded wounds, but Jesus came to heal you every where you hurt. I was thinking we get dressed every day, for the ladies we put our cute clothes on, we doll ourselves up with hair and makeup, smelly lotions and perfumes. You men y’all are so lucky, you take like a minute to get ready lol. Shower, shave, slap some gel in your hairs, and spray some cologne and your good to go lol. But once we are all done often there is one more thing we all put on before we leave….our mask. Our mask that says “Everything is fine.” “Everything is perfect in my life.” And honestly from the outside it could very well seem that way.

When someone says “Hey, how are you?” And your response is “I’m great! Couldn’t be better!” When really you’re dying and broken on the inside. We answer that way because we don’t want people to think less of us or what would they think if they knew what we were really going through???

First off let me just say YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I have been there myself. I put the mask on for many years not wanting people to know what my struggles were or what was going on in my life.

But if you can dig deep and find the courage to talk and share with someone I promise you, you will find out that you are not alone and that others are going through the same thing as you, or they have been there or they are going through something else equally as hard or harder.

Being vulnerable is hard but once you take that first step you open the door for healing to come in and new friendships to blossom and for the Lord to do a mighty work in your life.

You don’t have to get all fixed up to come to Jesus, church, or small group. Jesus loves you just they way you are, and just where your at!

The church is full of broken people.

People suffering from shame, guilt, drugs, alcoholism, pornography, rejection, infertility, abortions, divorce, rape, molestation, depression/other mental illnesses, and the list goes on and on. God uses the weak and the broken. His Word is full of stories of how He used broken and sinful people to do great and mighty things and He wants to do the same for you precious one.

God is in the restoration business. He will take your broken pieces and put you back together better than you can imagine. He will take your pain and suffering and use it for His glory and purposes and help others in the process. He will take your mess and give you a message.

I look back at 10-15 years ago I wore a mask often and that smile you saw back then was often a sad, fake smile. BUT GOD and I love that he gives us joy for mourning, beauty for our ashes! The smile you see today is real, it’s the joy of the Lord. (I like smiling, smiling my favorite…a little Elf humor LOL)

It’s not a perfect life but it’s a life not lead by fear any more. God is so good and He brings restoration and He will do it for you to my friend!💗

You are a Trophy of Grace!

Love and hugs,

Nicole💗

Click link below for the song Fear is a Liar:

https://g.co/kgs/oSKz9N

How are you…..REALLY? 


So Today was the first day of a new Bible study that we started. It’s about building friendships, being authentic and being real. It’s so easy to put a mask on and act as if everything is OK. But it’s been my experience we can dress it up, lose the weight, get the newest car, get the promotion you always wanted, buy the house of your dreams but it doesn’t change what’s going on under the surface. It’s just an illusion…..perfect plastic people.

We can have our hair perfect, make up on point, dressed to the nine and give the illusion that “We have it all together” but it couldn’t be further from the truth. All that doesn’t change what’s going on on the inside. So whether I’m on point so to speak or no make up, yoga pants and T-shirt doesn’t change the inside, it just gives us false illusions. And BTW I do enjoy both😊💁🏼 So today I on purpose wore yoga pants, T-shirt and no make up, I did brush my teeth and my hairs lol 😂 but that would not be my typical attire when leading a Bible study. But God has been really dealing with me about being the real me and being authentic. I am not perfect and yet I expect perfection from myself and then when I fail, and of course I do, I beat myself up. Why do we do that to ourselves? There was no perfect person but Jesus. It doesn’t matter how dressed up we get, we all have issues and problems we are dealing with, some may be more apparent than others but nonetheless we all have struggles and to go through life with our perfect little mask on is doing a disservice to ourselves and those around us. Now I’m not saying spill everything your going thru to everyone you come in contact with but what I am saying is JUST. BE. YOU. The REAL YOU! Folks we have to go deeper in life and in our relationships to be a who God made us to be and be a better YOU and ME.

You can live in the best of neighborhoods, have the best job, best schools, clothes, best whatever but when there is so much anxiety, sadness, depression, addictions, sickness, and grief in your 4 little walls you are only fooling yourself by putting that mask on every day and acting like “I’m fine.”
We were built for relationships and not act as if everything is perfect in our life. The struggles are real. The trials are real. The pain is real. I’ve seen it firsthand myself the beauty that takes place when we are real with one another. When I make a decision to be open with my pain and struggles, being vulnerable with another friend often I find out they to have struggles, maybe even the same ones. But had I not been real or taken a risk I wouldn’t have discovered the beauty and healing that could come from being so vulnerable.

When we dress up every day and go out we interact with people, we have a choice, who will you really be? God instilled in you and me certain gifts and traits to help other people, and the same is true for someone else, they have something you need.
This one question just spoke volumes to me and we say it every day “How are you? Or how are you doing today?” You hear it alllll the time and 9 times out of 10 we respond “I’m fine.” We’ll there ya go, that’s it, end of discussion and we move on, “You have a good day!” I’m guilty of it too. My husbands favorite phrase is “I’m living the dream!” With his best sarcasm😂

But I propose the question to you “How are you REALLY?” What’s going on in your life? Haven’t seen you at church or work, every thing ok? Or “I saw or heard you had been sick.” “I heard what happened, that’s terrible.” It could be a number of different things. But I think we find ourselves so busy in life we barely stop to breathe much less take the time build a true friendship. And even if we do, it’s with only “certain” people and we don’t allow others into our circle. But I’m hear to say we all have something someone else needs, if you know you me very well you’ve heard me say that many times before but it’s true. Open the circle my friends.

My challenge to you (and me) is to open your circle. Talk to someone you might not normally talk to, encourage them. You don’t know what other people are going through by just looking at them. Smile at someone. Give someone a hug. Buy the car behind you at Starbucks a coffee. Write a note, send a text someone who you know is struggling. Just try and brighten someone’s day. Share from your heart. Think about “Do I look approachable? Do I appear available, or always busy?

My friends I say take the mask off and open your circle and just see what God does in your life and the lives of others around you.
Hugs,
Nicole💗