Tag Archives: Depression

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💗

 

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

Dream Again

Today I came across an older writing of mine and thought I’d share. I love how God does that. Always knows what we need when we need it. I know I recently shared a similar topic, it was wrote during the same season of my life. But the message is so important, DREAM AGAIN. Don’t give up on what God put in your heart heart long ago.

So as I sit and ponder how we go thru seasons of life and for over half mine I’ve been a mom and wife. That was my job, sometimes thankless, sometimes really hard, but the rewards definitely out ways the tough times. In the last 8 months (at the time of this writing) I’ve been pushed into a season that I was dreading, scared, and certainly NOT READY FOR!! But funny how time goes on, our kids grow up, leave the nest. Some might say WHAT NOW LORD??? I know that was me for sure!! Our oldest is still at home, only 2 are gone but the process has started, so if this is you, tears will be shed and I mean A LOT!! UGLY CRY😭 Cus letting go of ours babies is painful but seeing them grow up into precious godly young women warms my heart and I couldn’t be more proud of our 3 beautiful girls.

I was at loss with what to do with myself but God has placed dreams and visions in our heart, it’s just that sometimes life and circumstances dim them. Is your dimmer switch turned off? If so I encourage you kids at home or not, DREAM AGAIN!! God is NOT done with you yet “empty nester parent” who feels alone, sad, and with no purpose now.

God is not done with you “stay at home mom” who feels like if I see one more dirty diaper!!! Or if they don’t pick up there toys or stop arguing I may explode!!!

I remember those days so well. But just know these are seasons and parenting is THE HARDEST JOB OUT THERE!! Also the MOST IMPORTANT and REWARDING! In case no one has told you lately “You’re doing a great job Mom/Dad, you ROCK!!” But know matter where you are on this journey God is NOT done with you yet. It may feel like it but I promise you He’s not!! You have gifts and talents IN YOU that need to be birthed. I won’t lie the birthing process is painful, much like birthing a child. What are your dreams? Passions? Is there something you’ve been wanting to do? Start a business? Go back to school? Volunteer somewhere? Whatever it is, I believe God is stirring in folks, don’t resist or shrink back in fear. God didn’t give you a spirit of fear. Press on precious one!! Do what you were born to do. The world doesn’t need another copycat version of someone else, the world needs YOU functioning in what you’re called to do. The world needs what gifts and talents you have tucked away, so sparkle on precious one! You were born for such a time is this.

Much love💗 and SHINE BRIGHT! ✨✨

Blessings,

Nicole💗

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💗