Tag Archives: Hope

God’s Plan For Your Life Is BIGGER

Hey y’all!! Hope you beautiful people are doing well and hanging in there with the extended quarantine 😞 I will be so grateful when all this is over and we can just come and go as well please. I won’t lie I miss shopping 🛍 lol and being with friends, family, and church.

I want to encourage you today, I know it’s hard but don’t be discouraged by what’s going on around you. While our circumstances they might be extremely bad they are only temporary, they will not last forever. This to shall pass….we have to remind ourselves of this. God’s plan for your life is BIGGER and has eternal value sweet friend! He was NOT caught off guard by any of this or anything else that’s happened in your life.

Encourage yourself today, encourage your family and others around you and stir yourself up my friend.

Encourage means to take action, giving someone support , confidence, and hope. We are all capable of doing this. Sometimes though we have to do it to ourselves first before we can someone else. It’s kinda like that oxygen mask on a plane…..put it on you first and then others around you.

Speak Gods word over yourself and your family and friends. We see in Psalms 42 where David encouraged himself, “Why are you so downcast O my soul….”

My soul thirsts, pants, and longs for the living God. I want to come and see the face of God. Day and night my tears keep falling and my heart keeps crying for your help while my enemies mock me over and over, saying, “Where is this God of yours? Why doesn’t he help you?” So I speak over my heartbroken soul, “Take courage. Remember when you used to be right out front leading the procession of praise when the great crowd of worshipers gathered to go into the presence of the Lord? You shouted with joy as the sound of passionate celebration filled the air and the joyous multitude of lovers honored the festival of the Lord!” So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for living before his face is my saving grace! Here I am depressed and downcast. Yet I will still remember you as I ponder the place where your glory streams down from the mighty mountaintops, lofty and majestic— the mountains of your awesome presence. My deep need calls out to the deep kindness of your love. Your waterfall of weeping sent waves of sorrow over my soul, carrying me away, cascading over me like a thundering cataract. Yet all day long God’s promises of love pour over me. Through the night I sing his songs, for my prayer to God has become my life. I will say to God, “You are my mountain of strength; how could you forget me? Why must I suffer this vile oppression of my enemies— these heartless tormentors who are out to kill me?” Their wounding words pierce my heart over and over while they say, “Where is this God of yours?” So I say to my soul, “Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be disturbed. For I know my God will break through for me.” Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again. Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭42:2-11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

YES!!! I love this! He is my saving grace and He is yours too my friend!

Be an blessing and encouragement to someone today. I know it’s hard from home. We just have to be more creative.

– Donate money to a local charity.

– If you are able to safely go out using wisdom and social distancing and deliver food to elderly and people in need.

– Send a text to a friend or call someone.

– Send a surprise gift online to someone.

– Start a bible study or work out group using Zoom with other friends so you can stay connected.

– If you like to cook do a Facebook Live and teach people how to make it. You can encourage and interact that way.

– If your going to the store ask a neighbor or someone you know that can’t get out if they need something.

There’s many more, I’d love to hear what you’ve done to encourage others and also have you keep yourself encouraged.

Lastly, sweet friend He calls YOU beautiful child of the King, destined for greatness!! You are called and anointed for such a time as this. Don’t let the enemy whisper lies to you. You remind him of who you are and of Who’s you are and then remind him that he is under your feet and he is a defeated foe……You are a Victorious Overcomer, full of COURAGE and HOPE, and Destined For Greatness 💗🗡🔥🙏🏻

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

My God Is So Big

Enduring And Abiding

Hey y’all! Hope this find you doing well. So many things going on in our world today, right?

When life gets hard, things happen that are out of our control. Stock market, Coronavirus, stay home, no close contact with others, work from home if possible. Life is changing. I’m a hugger and I miss hugging everyone 😭 I love time with my church, small groups and family and friends. I love shopping. Literally, as I’m writing this I got a call from my Immunologist for my appointment next week, they are changing it to phone appointment so I don’t go to UAB. Crazy, right? I mean I apologize it and all but life as we know it changing before our eyes. At least I won’t have to weigh myself, lol 🤣🤦🏼‍♀️ Gotta look for the positives right?🤷🏼‍♀️

When all this is over I’m gonna be a hugging machine🤗

Endure. What exactly does that mean? Endure to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; to bear without resistance or with patience; tolerate.

Boy, do we ever need patience right now. Patience with people buying up everything and all the toilet paper. Patience with waiting in the long lines at the store but also observing the 6 ft suggestion. Personally, I like some grocery pick up and delivery.

People are on more edge now. Offer a smile when you have to go out. Pay a compliment to the cashier or whoever it is. People need to be encouraged at the this time. People need to see Jesus in you. Even if you had to wait a long time in line, just tell the cashier you appreciate them. You understand how stressful it is for them and you know how hard their working and God bless them. They need it. Love God, love people!

Ok off my soapbox now.

Abide. What does abide mean? To bear patiently : tolerate. To wait for. To remain stable or fixed in a state. To continue in a place. Stay connected. Dependent on.

Now more than ever we need to stay connected to the Vine, we need remain stable in the storm. People are watching you. They want to see how Christians will respond in this storm. How are you responding? With fear, distrust? Only worrying about yourself? Are you checking on others? A simple phone call, text. I know we can’t always be together physically but we can still support and love each other in other ways. We might have to be more creative.

So how can we endure like Jesus did and abide in Him at the same time? During times of enduring, we MUST abide in Him. We must remain stable IN Him and fix our eyes on Jesus.

Like 2 chronicles 20:12 it says “….For we are powerless against this great multitude which is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

Stay in the Word. Read and study God’s word. Read devotions.

Praise music ushers in the presence of God.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Fast something for a time. It helps you draw closer to God. It doesn’t have to be food, it can be anything.

Listen to Podcasts or YouTube sermons, lots of sermons and Live streams on Facebook right now. It will really lift you up instead of just listening to the news of doom and gloom 24/7. I know we need to stay informed but to much of it causes us fear and anxiety.

Journaling, writing out your feelings is so helpful.

Enjoy your family. Watch Hallmark they are gonna be playing Christmas movies…Yaaassss! They know how to get me lol. If this goes on to long I may decorate my house😜 Play games together. Binge watch Netflix. Color. Do a puzzle. Play with your doggos. You know there are some happy happy doggos right now🤣 Cook a meal, bake a cake or some cookies. Just enjoy each other.

Honestly, taking care of yourself is so important right. If you don’t do that, you can’t help others and do what God wants and needs for you to do. Drink lots of water, Dr. Pepper when needed 😉 just not 8 a day lol. Eat healthy, fruits veggies, and proteins….less junk and bad carbs. Your immune system will thank you later. Take your multivitamins, supplement with vitamin C and other things that that are important to you and your health needs. I use essential oils and tons of supplements. I also think digestive enzymes are great as well as probiotics. Exercise. You can still get out and walk. With YouTube goodness you can find any exercise you want on there. Yoga, HIIT training, etc. All this stuff matters especially right now. Sorry another soapbox 🤦🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️

Fix your eyes of Jesus.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [a]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Endure like Jesus did precious one, That’s what being in the Word and daily devotions can do for you. Stay in the word sweet friends. ENDURE, be patient, this to shall pass, keep on keeping on, and don’t give up! Abide, in Him. Don’t separate from the branch. Remain stable through the trials.

The cross had 2 sides the crucifixion side and the resurrection side. Jesus had to endure one side to get to the other….You know that’s exactly what we have to do too. Sometimes we have to go through struggles and trials of life, things beyond our control, just like Jesus we have sometimes have to endure bad or really tough things to get to the other side.

But hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, for the joy of obtaining the prize of the cross, the resurrection, endured the pain. I love Joyce Meyer definition of endure is to outlast he devil!! To be steadfast long enough to let the trial do whatever it’s going to do in our lives and get from one side of the cross to the other!! AMEN!!

You have resurrection power life on the inside of you to endure whatever it is your going through by abiding IN HIM, you stay connected to Him, stay dependent on Him.

Keep on keeping on, press on, and don’t give up!!

Endure like Jesus. My heart will be steadfast because I KNOW that You are good💗

Sword of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

James 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

James 5:11 We count those blessed who endured You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

2 Timothy 2:10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Praying for you sweet Trophy of Grace readers. Gods got you right on the palm of His hand, no weapon formed against you will prosper!!

If you have specific prayer request, I’d be happy to pray for you. God bless you!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Get your worship on💗🙌🏻

Home For The Holidays- Some Of My Favorite Things

Welcome to the Hopkins Homestead Traditional Christmas.

The smell of Christmas is in the air. Yep you guessed it, Bath And Body Works “Winter” plugs in and their “Fireside” candles are my favorites. I stock up enough to last me all year long.

Did I mention I’m addicted to Bath and Body Works? My husbands jokes and says he’s created a Bath and Body Quicken category in our budget🤣🙈 He simply doesn’t appreciate me, I’m saving him so much money. I only buy them on sale and always have a 20% off coupon….he should thank me😜

My tree isn’t up yet, it has to go in the corner and I have to take my favorite chair out. It will go up first part of December as well as the outside decorations😍😍Yep, that’s a Christmas movie on the TV. I had to have some unexpected surgery last week but I’m gonna say if you have to have surgery this is the best time to recovery, all the Christmas movies on TV, keeps your heart happy and laughter is good medicine.

Our builder put tile around the fireplace but we decided to change it several years ago. We had our Worship Pastor change it out to the stone. It’s the same stone that’s in the church. The same church our daughter was married in. I think it’s just the little touches that no one may even know about that make your house a home. Sweet reminders to me💗

One of the things I always hope you feel when you come in our home is love, joy, and peace. So I try and surround myself with sweet reminders.

I’ve always loved opening our home for family, friends, ladies smalls groups, and company parties. It’s one of the things that makes my heart happy, to serve and love on others.

Another Kirkland’s picture, purchased on clearance a couple years ago.

Actually Kirkland’s has prolly thrown up in my house🤣 Love and Hope 💗💗 There’s a funny conversation piece in the bathroom you can’t see, it’s a Dirty Santa gift……an emoji Pooh 💩 plunger. It always gets the laughs and the occasional text or post🤣🤣🤣I’ve had these little mailboxes since our girls were little. They maybe old but I just can’t part with them. I paid $4.91 for both….after Christmas deal!😱 Store in the original box.

You can’t have Santa 🎅 without a sleigh. The sleigh and present lights up real pretty. A gift from a dear friend.

Special gift from a friend😍

The Sant clause picture below was another after Christmas deal from Kirkland’s a couple years ago, ridiculous price. It’s bigger than it looks. Side note…. I think I need to move my table over, it’s off center 😬

This was a little table I had that was super cute already but I wanted to chalk paint a bedroom set and I had never done it, so I thought I’ll try it out on the table first before I destroyed a bedroom suit, LOL. It actually turned out great, I did it like 4 years ago. Chalk paint is so easy and changes the look of everything.

The little Santa and deer are very special to me because it was my mother in laws, who has since gone on to be with the Lord. We miss her dearly.

I was so excited when I came across that Santa and deer picture at Kirkland’s a couple of years ago, it just made the entrance to our home so much more special to me and a reminder of loved ones who have passed.

This our Snowman ⛄️ it’s on its last leg I think. We bought it the same time as the mailboxes, $4.91 😱 I’ll continue to do what I can to save Frosty ☃️ I love him 😍

A great find from last year on eBay. Vintage Fitz & Floyd Santa cookie jar, perfect condition and original box. So cute and great deal!😍

This guy has always been one of my favorites too, bought him same time as the Snowman and mailboxes. $14.91😱😱😱 Still looks great! The dogs kinda freak out at first and my grand dog, Gus will dart past it like a bolt of lightning because he’s scared of it. He’s a bulldog with irrational fears 🤣 It’s so funny.

New gift from a precious friend. It’s very special to me😇

These jars get used all time, I just change the look for different seasons. Bought them years ago from Kirkland’s. Would love to find another set somewhere.

The red polka dot gift is actually doubles as a drink dispenser, it’s just too cute to not use as decoration. Another after Christmas deal years ago. I think we paid $4.91 or $9.91. Either way it was a steal! I always think of the Grinch when I see it for some reason. I love the Grinch with Jim Carey.

The little hot chocolate station doesn’t look as cute as usual, it’s just out. There’s so much more stuff in the attic I couldn’t get it all down and go through. But it will get the job done this year. I keep Hershey kisses in there but it might be missing a few 😉😋

It’s Elf, need I say more! 🎄😍 My oldest daughter bought me the picture a few years ago. I love it! The Elf candy dish I got at Hobby Lobby last year….it might be missing some candy too😉

#TheTable, many a meal has been ate here with family and friends. Old stories told over and over and new ones. Lots of games, birthdays, and holidays.

This is one of the many things my ever so talented middle daughter has made me. Love it so much!

This is another things she’s done for me. I love it😍

There’s so many things you can do to make your house feel like a home and don’t cost that much. Especially when you have a daughter with a silhouette 😉 But seriously you can find this kinda stuff on Amazon, Etsy, and other online sites. Buy and apply and it just makes it so homey.

A fresh coat of paint can completely change a room.

Throw pillows on your couch and if your tired of your olds ones now you can buy pillow slip covers. Or even go on Pinterest to show you how to make them. How easy is that?!?!

I love some Kirkland’s too, I mean really who can resist?!?! You can always find good sales and coupons for them.

Then there’s TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, Home Goods….Ohhhh my word! It’s like Heaven.

Hope you enjoyed our little Home For The Holidays and Some Of My Favorite Things.

Making your house a home can be so fun and honestly not so expensive if you are patient and look for sales…..you can create you and your family a little haven. Something you love coming home too and sharing with others.

I also suggest saving some monies for after Christmas shopping, you truly can get some of the best deals! Just FYI 😉

I hope this holiday season is filled with love, peace, and joy. God bless you sweet friends! Happy early Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Come Forth

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Have you found yourself in a place you never thought you’d be and you feel like you’ve lost your way?

You only feel pain and despair. Your heart is full of sadness. You feel so far from God, and you drifting aimlessly through life. You doubt God, and all you see is just darkness.

We’ve all been there at some point.

Life can be messy no doubt but as we approach the holidays for some it can be much worse. TV and movies depict a perfect, joyous life, with miracles happening just when you need it. I’m not knocking Hallmark Christmas movies, in fact I’m quite the fan of them but I’m just saying is what we experience isn’t always that perfect life we see on the screen…. all wrapped up in a pretty red bow 🎁

– Maybe you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one.

– Maybe it’s a broken relationship.

– Maybe the children you’ve longed for but it hasn’t happened yet.

– A lost dream.

-The loss of a job.

– Maybe you just dread all the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring.

– Or maybe it’s something as small as the in laws or your crazy uncle Eddie, lol!

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We all are going through something, big or small.

If you’ve fallen and lost your way precious one, allow me to speak life into your darkness. You are not to far gone for God to come down to that miry pit and swoop you up. You are chosen, loved, and fully known. The Lord is near, He’s close to the brokenhearted. He sees your pain, and He sees each tear and has collected each one in a bottle.

Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 112:4 “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

If you call on Him, He will come running. He will shine light into your darkness.

You are not forgotten.

Come forth from the darkness my friend.

You were made to live in the Light.

To the doubting voice, allow me to speak to those places of your heart that have lost hope that God can restore what’s broken and shattered in your life. He is the God of restoration and He has a great plan for your life. What the enemy meant to harm and destroy God will work for your good. He will take your mess and give you a message. You may have drifted off track but just jump right back on, he’s the God of second chances, third, forth, tenth, or a hundred. He does not relent.

Gods not disappointed in you, quite the opposite…He’s cheering you on. When you are weak precious one, He is strong. He can give you strength to get through another day.

Nehemiah 8:10 “The JOY of the Lord is your strength.”

Come forth from the doubt that has overtaken you.

You were made to live in the confidence that God has you right in the palm of His hand and He will restore to you what the enemy has stolen.

To the voice of sadness that’s overwhelmed you, I speak victory. Though sadness has lingered on, I say you will not give up for the battle is already won sweet friend. To the voice that says “Just give up” I speak strength to your inner man to keep moving forward and not give up. Gods not done with you yet. You will live and not die. You will press on to all the good things God has for you.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. He will give you joy for morning and beauty for your ashes.

Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Come forth from the grief and sadness that has tried to engulf your life.

You were made to live a life of joy.

Let me just say, you can still live a life of joy in the midst of a storm. Joy isn’t the absence of problems, it’s the calm delight in the midst of a storm.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

James 1:2-4 “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Battle plan:

Praise, praise, and more praise because praise breaks the chains that bind us. Praise gives you strength to keep going. Praise changes the atmosphere.

Build up your support system around you. Friends, loved ones, support groups, or counseling if you need it. You won’t make it alone, you were built for relationship. We are better together.

When all you see is only hopelessness, change your focus and declare You O Lord are a shield around me and the lifter of my head.

When you find yourself wondering aimlessly, remember God is with you and He will direct your path.

When that grief and sadness kick in again, remember He gives JOY for mourning and beauty for your ashes.

When you are weary His word says “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

When your life has been full of broken promises, His word say “God is not man, that he should lie…” Get in the word and claim His promises for your life.

Maybe you don’t know or even feel it at this moment but Jesus loves YOU at your darkest sweet friend. While we were still sinners Christ died on the cross for you and me.

Come forth the Victory God has already planned for you.

Come forth the Breakthrough for your life that’s already been set in motion.

Come forth spirit of God and do what only You can do.

Come forth and show Your glory Lord.

I pray this holiday season will be one of rest, gratefulness, and JOY UNSPEAKABLE.

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Breakthrough-Red Rock Worship https://youtu.be/6ni5_JGRrgs

God of Miracles

I want to encourage you sweet friend to hold onto hope…the hope that only comes from Jesus.

Don’t stop believing. 🕺💃 🎶 Now you’ve got that song stuck in your head, lol. But seriously, don’t stop believing that God is on your side and He’s got you right in the palm of His hand.

Don’t stop praying for that loved one to come back to God.

Don’t stop praying for that relationship to be healed and restored.

Don’t stop praying for your health to be restored or for the problem there hasn’t been answer too. God knows what to do and where to send you to so you get your answers.

Don’t give up even when it seems there’s no one on your side and people are saying it’s not possible. Sweet one, with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

Surround yourself with friends that come along side you. The ones who will lift up your arms when you don’t have the strength to keep going. But also be that one for them when they can’t go on….you pray and lift them up when their to weak to go on.

As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

YESSSS! BE THAT FRIEND!

When things don’t seem to change or things are getting worse….you keep praying and believing for God to move that mountain! Don’t you dare give up!

He’s all powerful…all mighty! A mountain moving, water parting, earth shaking, battle fighting, and unstoppable kinda GOD!

He’s The Waymaker!

So keep praying and believing that God is fighting for you. He is behind the scenes working ALL things out for your good!

Trust Him!

Trust that he’s heard your heartfelt prayers. Just because you don’t receive an answer this moment it doesn’t mean he hasn’t heard you or that he isn’t answering you, it simply means his timing is different than ours. He sees the beginning from the end and His ways are higher than ours.

But let me encourage you that He hasn’t forgotten you….no He always has a perfect plan for us. So keep hanging in there. Keep praying and don’t give up. Keep on leaning into Jesus.

He is the God of miracles!

The Waymaker!

“You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:14).

“If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”

God bless you and have a wonderful week!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

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💗

 

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💗