Can I walk with you?

December 2011

January 2012

I would like to think I can blame my weight on having a child. Well, my son is now 19, so that excuse is a little outdated. Over the course of 19 years I have tried everything from the major name brand weight loss companies, professional counseling and counting calories. I am not discounting any of those programs; I am simply saying they were not effective for me. I had memberships at gyms in every town I’ve lived in and went to just about every class offered. Something was not clicking. March 2012, I was challenged by 3 friends to join them for 5:30am Insanity workouts. For about 3 months I joined these ladies for Insanity and walking/jogging around the high school track. March 2012, I was determined to try something…anything. A few weeks later, one of the ladies mentioned there was a new thing in town called Smoky Mountain CrossFit. Well I tried everything else; why not give this a shot too. I went to their first inaugural day workout on June 30th and it kicked my butt. I had no plans of going back, not only was it super hard but it cost more than a typical gym membership.

June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012

I thanked the owners for a great day and I was on my way back to staying the same…until…

Later that same day, I received a phone call from one of the owners and she said I won a free one month membership. Ha, I laughed because I thought that will be a waste. I was not athletic, I was not in shape and I was not ready to do CrossFit for a month. I went to my first workout and thought these people are crazy. I thought, after this month is over, I am done. After the first week I could tell a difference in how I felt. After the first month I could not stop talking about CrossFit; my friends probably thought I drank some funny kool-aid that turned me into a CrossFit junkie.

538981_3681201157370_1569887218_nBefore CrossFit, I was tired all the time. I was grumpy and I hated looking in the mirror at myself. I did not want anyone to take my picture because it would be a constant reminder that I was out of shape and severely overweight. To be brutally honest, I did not even want to be intimate with my husband because why on earth would he be excited about having a fat wife. Yes, all these thoughts went through my mind, daily!!

After a few weeks with CrossFit, it became apparent to me that I was a ticking time bomb. My health was out of control, my eating was on the boarder of gluttony, and I was on my way to Type 2 Diabetes. My back, joints, legs and head hurt all the time. It was time to get serious about my health, not only for me but for my 3 kids. I held onto and repeated several times a day “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body” I Corinthians 6:19-20. I was committed to an average of 4 workouts per week, sometimes in addition to Insanity or walking in my neighborhood.

after photoIt has been 12 months since I first stepped into CrossFit and I no longer walk in with a feeling of shame. Over the past year there have been some tough workouts, two I did not finish and one that took me almost an hour to complete. I have overcome a lot of obstacles in the past year; I must admit I am still hesitant to jump on a 20inch box. I try not to focus on the struggles or the things I cannot do like double unders and muscle ups. I focus more on all the other things I have accomplished such as 255lb dead lift, 110lb bench press and a 200lb back squat. This is all coming from the girl who could not complete a full squat on day one.

 

IMG_0649In May of this year, I had an opportunity to participate in a mission trip to Nairobi Kenya. It was a huge blessing to serve and minister to the women and children of Kenya through a medical clinic at a place called Orbit Village. Mission trips can be difficult mentally, physically and spiritually. Having been to Africa once prior to my time at CrossFit, I believe my training at CrossFit gave me the needed endurance for the time difference, the change in meals and the overall change in my everyday surroundings. At SMCF, we do not know prior to coming into the box what the workout is for the day; however we are expected to give everything we have when the clock counts down to 3-2-1 Go. The mission field is the same; we have some days when we have no idea what to expect, especially in a third world country. We simply have to be ready to go into our day with whatever is presented before us. And we are expected to give our very best every time.

crossfit logoAs I come to the end of my first year with SMCF, I have set a few goals for myself. June 30th marks my one year anniversary as a charter member with SMCF and I believe it is only fitting that I look at becoming a certified CrossFit trainer. I believe there are many avenues and programs out there that can be effective to weight loss however I believe CrossFit is the most effective in changing the total person. I believe CrossFit challenges a person’s thinking of what we believe we are capable of accomplishing. I believe CrossFit challenges our eating behaviors to not only eat because we enjoy food but to eat because we need certain foods to lead healthy productive lives. I believe CrossFit also challenges us spiritually, when we recognize that the Holy Spirit dwells within we can accomplish so much more when we are spiritually, mentally and physically healthy.

wpid-freedom.jpgI am not sure where you are on your journey to health and wholeness. If you feel like you have tried everything yet nothing is working, may I recommend you give CrossFit an opportunity to radically change your life. I am also a firm believer that we need others to walk some journeys with us. If I can be that person to come along side you to walk out this journey, please contact me and let’s get serious about you living a life that is happy healthy and whole!!

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!SMCF-banner-website3

The Rhythm of God’s Song

5-minute-friday-1

Today I’m joining http://lisajobaker.com/ and friends to write for Five Minute Friday.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

The Word Prompt for today is…Rhythm…

Today I decided to look up the word rhythm prior to writing my Five Minute Friday post. This is what I grabbed from Wikipedia ” rhythm is the timing of events on a human scale; of musical sounds and silences”. Hmm ok I think I’m on to something the Lord has been speaking to my heart this week… so here goes…Five Minute Friday

The timing of events on a human scale..the musical sounds and the silences. This week I was sitting with the Lord and he very clearly said “Why are you praying for a new assignment, I have already given you the assignment I have for your life. Why are you waiting for someone else to validate, affirm and confirm the assignment that I gave you?” Those were tough questions to hear let alone try to find an answer for in that moment. A couple of years ago, I felt the crushing blow of some one say “Women’s ministry is not for you.” Unfortunately I allowed those words to dictate the musical sound God was singing with such sweet rhythm over my life. Since then, I have tried to seek out other avenues of walking in step with the Lord. Nothing brings fulfillment and joy as walking in the rhythm of the Lord through teaching His Word and walking with women through life’s mountains and valleys.

piano rose

The past couple of years have felt like silent years. When I stop to consider why they have been silent, I go back to what the Lord has spoken this week. If I truly believe what God has been singing the past 20 years, what else is there for Him to say. This week I had a dream that at first seemed a bit odd however it was another, about the 10th, confirmation that God’s promises, assignments and calling over our lives are consistent. He does not change His calling just because a man or woman does not agree with the calling.

I am grateful for friends who know the depths of my heart and hear the music that God sings over my life. I am thankful for women who believe in me and the assignment God has over my life. I am blessed by friends who remind me to listen to the rhythm of God’s song.

One of my favorite Bible verses…

Zephaniah 3:17  The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing. (Amplified Bible)

Blessed Assurance

June 9th, 2013…Unedited Version…

March 27, I arrived in Nairobi Kenya prepared to accomplish many good things for the Lord. I will get to those things in another blog post. Today I want to share with you what the Lord accomplished in my heart during this recent mission trip. Prior to leaving for Kenya I had a sense within my spirit that my life was in jeopardy. I tried to keep this feeling to myself however I ended up sharing these feelings with my husband. He acknowledged God’s protection, provision and care over the mission trip.

One night I was preparing for the next morning’s devotional and I was reading through the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. During my reading time the Lord impressed upon my heart to share with our team not about the woman’s sin but about the woman’s encounter with the Savior of the world. As I sat and prayed I knew God was dealing with me, not about my sin but my understanding of Jesus as Savior.

When I was an 8-year-old little girl, I acknowledged and professed a belief in Jesus Christ. I was baptized at Covesville Baptist Church by my uncle the Reverend Montague. My mother raised me in a Christian home and we were faithful to our church. As a teenager I became distant and at one point I had very little desire to go to church. When I left home, I did not attend church for almost 2 years. When I met my husband in 1993, I started going to church with him, simply because he would not stop asking me to go. After we were married and I had been back in church a couple years, I felt it was time to get right with God and repent for the way I had been living my life. That too is another blog for another day, now is not the time to uncover the sins of my past. Sitting in my living room in Salisbury MD I confessed my need for a Savior and committed to living my life according to God’s Word. shortly there after I, along with my friend Robin, was baptized at Community Christian Church.

Before I go any further, I know this is going to mess with the theology of some who read this blog post. Let me be clear…I am not concerned about your theology. I am more concerned about your eternal salvation.

During my mission trip to Nairobi Kenya, I had many sleepless nights. A few nights I stayed up praying that snakes would not come into my room in the middle of the night. Yes one night a snake was killed on the patio of the Lodge where we stayed. So yes I think I had a little bit of paranoia at work however I also believe there was a spiritual battle taking place. The enemy is likened to a serpent in Scripture. In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent came to Eve and questioned what God had spoken to Eve. It was becoming evident to me that my sleepless nights were connected to the wrestling and doubt that was raging in my soul. I know God’s Word says there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. I know God’s Word assures us of our eternal security in Jesus Christ. When the enemy came to Eve, I believe there were moments of  wrestling within her spirit between God’s Word and what the enemy was speaking into her. I believe once the enemy had a slight crack in the assurance in Eve’s heart, he knew he could chip away at that small piece.

It’s the small chipping away that goes undetected from the outside world and quite possibly undetected within ourselves…until it has cut deep enough that we begin to buy into the doubt. And for me…I was on that dangerous path of beginning to doubt what the Lord had spoken over my life. I was beginning to doubt the calling over my life. I was beginning to doubt whether I was living a life filled with the fruits of the Spirit. I was beginning to doubt whether I was walking in faith in Jesus. I was in a place of doing all the right things for the Lord, yet wrestling the enemy for my very life. Yes my life was on the line…my eternal life was on the line. While in Kenya, I was determined that I no longer wanted to live a life consumed with doubt and wrestling with the devil over something that Jesus Christ said is securely mine. After my quite time with the Lord, I thanked the Lord for His confirmation over my life. I thanked the Lord for opening my eyes to the doors that I had allowed the enemy to slip through.

When I returned home to America, I did not realize the process that God was still taking me on. On June 9th while sitting in church, the Lord spoke to my heart and said “We are done with this battle,  today we are nailing a stake in the ground as a confirmation that the devil is under your foot because of the power and blood of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Today, is your day of Salvation unto knowing without any shadow of doubt that your life if secure for eternity with Jesus Christ.” When my Pastor asked if anyone prayed with him to receive Salvation, I could not remain in my seat. I walked towards him, yes I must admit I could not look at anyone on the worship team (especially my husband), I could not look at anyone I passed as I approached my Pastor, and I could not look at my Pastor as I approached him. That was the last and final scheme of satan. I belive that snake wanted to me walk in shame, that I as staff member of The Gathering, a deacon’s wife, a woman with a MA in Christian counseling is walking the aisle to acknowledge receiving Salvation on June 9, 2013. I dropped to my knees and sobbed because I knew without a shadow of doubt it was finished. I was done with the devil trying to taunt me with lies. I knew in that moment, my Salvation was sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Now for those of you who question whether I believe I had lost my salvation…NO! I believe I had lost sight of my salvation. Like I Eve I began to believe lies. I began to believe that I was not called to a specific ministry. I belive I lost sight of the gifts that God had given me. I believe I had lost sight of the victory that is mine in Jesus. I belive my life was no longer marked with power…because I was walking in doubt and insecurity.  And on June 9th, I made a public declaration that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal, forever and eternal Savior. I made a public declaration that satan is under my foot and I walk in the assurance of my salvation.

There is so much more to say but for now…I need to take and break. I will write more…For now I would ask that you take some time and evaluate your walk with the Lord.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

 

Songs I Sing

Five Minute Friday…

Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. To know that The Lord rejoices over me with singing brings such and comfort to my soul!!

As I look back over my life, now some 40 years there has been one constant. As a child I sang in the church choir and played a flute in 5th grade. In middle school and high school I was a part of a dance team. In college I sang with a praise and worship group. As an adult I have sang in choirs, ensemble groups and alone driving down the road.

Music is what moves my heart to worship The Lord. Singing songs of worship is more natural to me than cooking a meal for my family. There is something magnificent and majestic about praising Jesus.

Recently I heard this song by Misty Edwards that drives me to my knees. When you think of me…let it be with mercy. When you think of me

20130517-142336.jpg

Shifting Winds…

I found this today…May 2013…23 days before I leave for Kenya!!

Shifting Winds…God is up to something way bigger than me. This is a re-post (updated) from May of 2010. Wait till I tell you about May 2011…until then…

Almost 20 yrs ago, I met a man who would forever change my life. At the time we met I was concerned about how I was going to make a name for myself in this world. I was on a path that was to take me straight to Law School and into courtrooms defending women and children. The dream of becoming a lawyer, and advocate for others has not died however I believe God had bigger plans than a mere courtroom.

When I married my husband, he told me God had placed it on his heart to do missions work; rebuilding what was destroyed by natural disaster. In my limited capacity of understanding missions I said I was not interested in leaving the country. My husband was home-schooled; familiar with the benefit and blessings that arise from families learning growing and studying together. I too said I was not interested in homeschooling our children. So misinformed I believed they wouldn’t make it to a good university; well my husband graduated from the University of Virgina with a B.A. in Civil Engineering.

In the past 10 years God has been shifting the winds of my heart. My husband has been on several mission trips, state side and overseas. In 2005, God impressed it upon my heart to fly into Maracaibo Venezuela and drive out to a remote town with several teens and adults. We spent the week in 100+ degree weather playing with school children and showing Jesus films at night. I have since longed to return!! Oh did I mention, worship in Spanish and English at the same time is beautiful music!! Four years ago, the Lord allowed my husband and I to build our own home with an estimated sq footage of…well way beyond anything a family of 5 needs. We currently open our home to children who have been displaced by one reason or another through the foster care system.

Jon went to New Orleans several times in the aftermath of Katrina. After his last trip there, he said “What do you think of selling our home, buying an RV, homeschooling the kids and traveling to areas hit by devastation. Use your Marriage and Family Counseling degree to minister to families who are psychologically struggling. And I (Jon) will minister to their physical needs of tearing down and rebuilding the physical structures.” Honestly my first thought a couple years ago was, “We have good jobs, and our kids are in fantastic schools. Why move around?” This week we heard and read about devastation that hit Nashville. I was not at all surprised by the nudge of the Holy Spirit, “The time is coming and it’s drawing near.”

The winds are shifting…we are not looking to move anytime soon. Or at least we don’t believe we are. We believe God is starting to do a work in our hearts first, to get us spiritually, mentally and physically prepared. For those who are wondering…no our house is not up for sale, yet. And we are not looking to change jobs; Jon is blessed to work for an amazing company and serve along side an awesome church family. We believe God has been preparing us for a work greater than anything we could have ever dreamed or imagined July 10, 1993 walking down the isle of Cherry Ave Christian Church.

The winds are shifting and God is preparing us to be ready when He is ready. This weekend, Jon and I are taking our first “mission” trip together as a couple. Friday afternoon we will head out to Nashville and spend Saturday doing as much as we can. We anticipate the worst structurally but anticipate an awesome display of God’s faithfulness, holiness, and majesty to shine through the people we will encounter. Our degrees, our licenses, our goals, our dreams, all that could make for a pretty comfortable life. God is more interested in molding us into a life that He has designed. God allowed us to walk certain roads to get us to the road He wants us to travel. He has allowed us to learn somethings along the way so we are prepared when He shows up with the blueprint of what we are to complete for Him!!

Please pray for us…we believe the journey is just beginning!! We welcome shifting winds because we know Ruach (The Spirit of God) is leading the way!!

Thank you for sticking with the random thoughts of today. I know it was a little long…sometimes thoughts flows like a waterfall…

Nicole

Almost there!!

Missions Update…I am so excited about my upcoming mission trip to Nairobi Kenya. God has blessed me with an amazing opportunity to travel on a second Mission trip with The LORD’S Child (http://thelordschild.com). While in Kenya, we have an opportunity to serve women and children at an orphanage called Orbit Village. We will have several nurses on our team to conduct a medical clinic at the school and a nearby refugee camp. At first glance, I felt out-of-place as I am not qualified as a nurse or one to provide medical related education to the women. Joshua%20House%20Boys

God was not surprised by my lack of education & medical knowledge when he called me to this mission trip. He simply wanted my commitment to go. Since the time of my commitment to say yes, God is opening my eyes to the greater vision He has for me on this mission trip. For 20 years my heart’s passion and desire is to serve and minister the love of Jesus to the hearts of women. As I prepare for this mission trip to Kenya, that is my assignment given by God and submitted to the leadership team of our missionary group. I have been encouraged and commissioned to receive a message from the Lord to share with the women in Kenya. As the nurses prepare the medical equipment and the right medications, I believe God is preparing my heart to receive a Word from Him. Today I am asking that you would join me in praying that God would open my eyes to see more of Him, that God would open my ears to hear His voice alone, and that my heart would be open to receive His love, unconditional and true.8348e71e-b55d-3671-8615-4cc3b80121c1

This missionary journey would not be possible without much prayer, as this trip also requires financial funding. I am believing that God will provide over and above my financial needs. With the help of some wonderful friends I am praying daily for the financial provisions for this mission trip. As a missionary, I am tasked with raising my own support to cover travel expenses, meals and lodging while on the mission field. Today I am so close to meeting my fundraising goal. My final installment of $1200 is now due.

So far, several individuals have sacrificially given towards this missionary trip. As you read this, please consider what amount you are able to give. Your gift is what allows the message of Jesus to spread around the globe!! When making your tax-deductible donation, please make it out to The LORD’S Child P.O. Box 6120, Sevierville TN 37864. And add my name to the memo line. I believe with prayer and God’s help to stir the hearts of many, my financial need will be met.

I look forward to writing again soon to say God has supplied my every need…just as He has promised!! God Bless and have an amazing day!!

In His service,
Nicole

From there to here

Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday.

This is where we come together writing for 5 minutes without editing or overthinking.

Check out what everyone’s is sharing on the word HEREhere.

What an amazing week…Here I am waiting to walk into the Women of Joy Conference. It wasn’t planned as is the case for many of the sweet moments I received this week.

Earlier this week I was in a place of wanting to drop some things off my plate and go back to where I was comfortable. And then it happened God used a great friend to lead me to thinking on the life of Joseph. Joseph may have never made it “here” if he had not gone “there”.

Two days later God gifted me with the company of another friend who reminded me to slow down and appreciate the women God has placed in my life. There are so many women who would rather talk about me, curse me and probably abandon me…but that’s ok. You see Joseph had to go “there” before he could be “here”.

And then today…I sat with 2 more amazing friends. Blessed by the beauty of friendship. I am here because a precious woman gave of herself to see that I go from a place of there to here.

The real me is…broken

FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY
Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday. This is where we come together to write for 5 minutes without editing or overthinking. I love connecting with these ladies…they challenge me to think beyond myself as I write.

Check out what everyone is sharing on the word BROKEN here….

5-minute-friday-1

The real me is broken to pieces…broken jar1

I have faults…I get angry, I get mad, I get sad, I get happy, I get glad…I have feelings

I am not trying to impress you…I am not trying to please you…I am not here to judge you

The real me is broken to pieces…broken jar

I am not the perfect wife…I have cussed…I have cried…I have loved…and I have lied

I am not the perfect mom…I have yelled…I have fussed…I have hugged…and I have cherished

The real me is broken to pieces…broken jar2

I am not the perfect friend…I have betrayed…I have stayed…I have mended…and I have bended

I am not the perfect woman…I have aborted…I have spoken out of turn…and I have squatted in the bush

The real me is broken to pieces…broken jar3

Jesus my Savior was broken to pieces too…yet He knew no sin and it for that reason

jar

I surrender my brokenness to Him

alabaster oil jar

A sweet reminder

Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday.
This is where we come together writing for 5 minutes without editing or over thinking.

Check out what everyone’s is sharing on the word REMEMBER 

here.

Five Minute Friday
3-2-1 GO
March 2000, I can remember like it was yesterday. Our family  moved from Salisbury MD to Clarksville TN. We loaded our young family into a moving truck and traveled west. We had no idea what was in store for us. We knew we needed a place of restoration and healing for our marriage. Without it we were done…
moving truck
We found an amazing Christian Church to attend which also served as immediate family for our 1st grade son and our daughter who was due to be born any day. After seeking marital counseling our marriage was being renewed daily. With the help of loving friends we were on a path laid out by God.
One year later we moved to Knoxville TN where I enrolled in Johnson Bible College. Six years later and a third child,  I would cross that stage to receive my MA in marriage and family therapy. My degree, our journey is a reminder that anything is possible as long as God in the center of our marriage.
wpid-IMAG0997.jpg
This year Jon and I celebrate 20 years together…
STOP

A resting place

Five Minute Friday

Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday.

This is where we come together writing for 5 minutes without editing or overthinking.
I am new to this community but I love reading how God is working in the lives of the women.

Check out what everyone’s is sharing on the word REST here.

5-minute-friday-1

There are few places I will allow my heart to land. As I began to share how I had recently picked up a stone of hurt, my friend very quickly realized how she needed to minister to my wounded spirit.

Without sharing all the details just know that I was in a place of seeking outward approval and affirmation of a God given assignment. God gave me my assignment long before I ever uttered a cry on this planet. Growing up the enemy tried very hard to steal that assignment. As a young woman in my 20’s, I began to see glimpses of the assignment yet I was so broken and tormented by the lies of the enemy. As I walked through my 30’s, The Lord began to reveal a bigger picture that allowed me to see more of who I am created to be. The closer I moved towards 40 the enemy came in with one more blow “you are not really created for that assignment”. And for almost 3 years I have believed every word. Even when my closest friends and family locked eyes with me and said “God gave you an assignment and you know it full well to the core of your being”.

So as I sat sharing with friend through the tears I could hear her say stop striving for man’s approval and come into a place of rest. Rest in knowing I am created by God to bring Him glory through my God given assignment.

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by today…

Blessings,

Nicole

I’ve fallen…

I took a leap of faith…and then I fell.

Yesterday  I completed the Crossfit Open 13.2. The workout was to complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of 5 Shoulder to overhead at 75 lbs; 10 Deadlifts at 75 lbs; and 15 Box jumps at 20 inches.photo

The overheads and deadlifts were a piece of cake. My trainer gave me the option of stacking plates to a height that was just shy of 20″. I was doing fine and then it happened. I went to jump, my foot slipped and I fell chest first on the plates. OUCH!! I rolled onto the floor realizing my fear had come true. I fell.photo (1)

Laying there I had one choice…to get up and realize fear no longer had a grip on me. I had literally come face to face to that thing that had me bound. I jumped up and went back to the workout! Actually, I left the shorter stack and went on to complete the workout on the 20″ box. After 10 minutes, I completed 5 rounds for a total of 150 reps.rouge crossfit box

In the aftermath I was glad my trainer left me alone. She did not come to my immediate rescue. She watched to make sure I had not broken anything. My fear of falling had to be met head on and today it was conquered.

As I watched my name go up on the whiteboard for 5 rounds completed I  saw this written on the door:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Phillipians 4:13

One year ago I would have remained on the floor allowing the pain to convince me to never try again.

One year ago I would have walked away with a bruised ego and pride would have won.

Today I left knowing I had come face to face with the fear that held me bound.

I may have fallen…but by golly I finished well!!

(This is a repost of 03/14/2013–original post was mistakenly deleted)

I’m leaving…in 2 months

I am 2 months from getting on a plane and leaving what I call the comforts of home and going to a place unknown, at least unknown to me. I began to cry because I believe God called me to go to Kenya just as He has called me to Venezuela and Uganda in the past.

My tears were not that I doubt the call, but because I still have a way to go with fundraising. The total cost of the trip is $3800 and as of today I have raised just shy of $1000. I have friends who are also raising funds for this trip and they too are trusting God to provide the needed resources. As I began to type more letters and make my list of possible donors I could feel the Lord leading me to a place of simply sitting at His feet to worship.

This song gripped my heart like none other...Oceans (Where my feet my fail). I was doing fine until these words flashed across the screen

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

And it was at that moment that my crying turned into weeping. Last week I began reading several books written by missionaries to Africa. They were both on an unlikely journey to turn what seemed like a dream into a God sized mission. Today I am not sure what I will find when I arrive in Kenya but I know my assignment is to help with a medical clinic and share the love of Jesus with women and children. I know God has greater plans for my life than I could ever begin to dream or imagine.

So today…I am writing to you…I have said yes I will go…Our team will travel to Nairobi, Kenya from May 26 – June 6 2013. We have an opportunity to partner with Orbit Village (www.orbitvillage.org), a Christian school of over 400 children grades k thru 12, along with an orphanage consisting of 75 children. While at the village, we will work with the staff and children daily by conducting a medical clinic. The medical clinic will provide physicals, vitamins, antibiotics, and women’s health care. In addition to the medical clinic, I have been tasked with preparing a 4 day women’s conference. The purpose of the women’s conference is to educate women on topics ranging from esteem, parenting, personal hygiene and general health. Our team will also visit a refugee camp, Mathare Valley, on two separate days to conduct a medical clinic. Mathare Valley is considered the slums in of Kenya.

There is no gift too small…a gift of $25 is just as generous as the gift of $1000. Each one is noticed by the Lord. I invite you to listen to the song again and ask the Lord to lead you to a place of trusting Him without borders. For some the Lord may be calling you to stretch your walk in your local community and for some it may be to stretch your walk around the globe. And for others, the Lord is asking you to consider partnering with missionaries, like me, through your prayers and financial support. It is through your partnership the love of Jesus continues to spread. Your tax-deductible donations may be made to the Lord’s Child with my name in the memo line and mailed to The LORD’S Child P.O. Box 612 Sevierville, TN 37864

I am certain when I arrive in Kenya, I will weep with joy…

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

The gift

It has been almost 2 months since I made the commitment to go to Nairobi Kenya. The confirmation and encouragement from friends has been over the top phenomenal. Twenty years ago, my husband told me we would become missionaries. At the time I envisioned moving to a third world country and living in the middle of an unknown foreign land. You could say I felt a little like Sarai and laughed at my Abram.

Since that time I have become the mother of 3 children and provided a foster home for over 20 additional children. I have been blessed to obtain my MA in Professional Counseling and serve in various churches with the main focus of mentoring, counseling and developing women to become lovers of Jesus. In Spring 2005, I was given the opportunity to travel to Maracaibo Venezuela. It was there the Lord spoke to my heart about the work He is doing around the world.venezuela 1 venezuela 3Finally I began to recognize the message my husband spoke over me in the late 90’s did not necessarily mean we would move to another country. Accepting the call to missions can be lived out daily here in America with the expectation there will be times of traveling around the globe. It was not until 2009 that I felt the Lord leading me to travel again. September 2009, I had a dream of walking among a very dark-skinned group of people. I dreamed of celebrating in their worship services and then preparing the children for school. I must stop here and say, at the time of my dream I was not in connection with anyone who was doing missions work in this particular demographic group. As with most of my dreams, I wrote this down in my journal and prayed for God to prepare my heart to know when the timing is right. Approximately one year later I heard a man from Kampala Uganda speak on the needs for women and children in his country. I knew the time was coming near for me to see this prophetic dream became a reality.

September 2011, I had the precious gift of traveling to Uganda with my then 17 year old son and a team from our church. During the 24 hour journey to Uganda I prayed the Lord would open a door for me to have opportunity to minister and serve the women of Uganda. As a mother and foster mom of many, I love children however I know without a doubt my calling is to minister and serve women. For three days I was blessed to share the love of Jesus with women in three different villages. With the help of other women on our team and the translators we also shared basic hygiene procedures to help minimize the spread of disease among the children.

310260_2325191284675_1065659378_n 313916_2325190804663_1326671017_n

This year in May, I have been given the opportunity to travel to Nairobi Kenya. While in Kenya, our main focus will be to provide a medical clinic for women and children. There will be nurses and children’s ministry leaders with specific assignments. The Lord is preparing my heart to provide workshops and teachings specific to the needs of the women.

As a missionary, I depend on the support of others to help with the travel expenses. Today I am writing to ask that you would consider the work the Lord is doing around the globe. In Matthew 28: 20, the Lord commands that we are to go and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. For various reasons, not everyone is able to travel 8000 miles around the world. As a missionary, I am praying the Lord would allow you to become one of the financial partners to help send me. I am willing, able and ready to go!!

Your gift, whether $25, $50, $100, or $500 is valuable to the mission. You may send your tax-deductible donation to The Lord’s Child P.O. Box 6120 Sevierville, TN 37864. www.thelordschild.com. Please include my name on the memo line.

Thank you in advance for your prayers!!

Nicole Hawker

Answered Prayers!!

In January of this year, I was invited to go on a second mission trip with The LORD’S Child (www.thelordschild.com) along with others from my church. Our team will be traveling to the country of Nairobi, Kenya from May 26 – June 6 2013. We have an opportunity this year to visit and work with Orbit Village (www.orbitvillage.org). Orbit Village operates a Christian school of over 400 children grades k thru 12, along with an orphanage consisting of 75 children.

orbit village photo

While at the village, we will work with the staff and children daily by conducting a medical clinic. The medical clinic will provide physicals, vitamins, antibiotics, and women’s health care. In addition to the medical clinic, I have been tasked with preparing a 4 day women’s conference. The purpose of the women’s conference is to educate women on topics ranging from esteem, parenting, personal hygiene and general health. Additionally we will go to a refugee camp, Mathare Valley, on two separate days to conduct a medical clinic. Mathare Valley is considered the slums of the slums in of Kenya.

mathare1

As I prepare for this mission trip I am praying for individuals who believe in me to come along side me in prayer and financial support. The greater need is prayer. This missionary journey would not be possible without much prayer. I believe God will provide over and above my financial needs. With the help of some wonderful friends I am praying daily for the financial provisions for this mission trip. As a missionary, I am tasked with raising my own support to cover travel expenses, meals and lodging while on the mission field. The total estimated cost for this trip is $3600.

nairobi map

Today, I am believing God for 12 sponsors in the next 2 weeks to donate $75  each towards this, my 2nd mission journey to Africa. So far, several individuals have given above the $75 donation which makes a huge impact on the total costs. Your gift is what allows the message of Jesus to spread around the globe!!  When making your tax-deductible donation, please make it out to The LORD’S Child P.O. Box 6120, Sevierville TN 37864. I believe that with prayer and God’s help to stir the hearts of many, my financial need will be met.

I look forward to writing again soon to say God has supplied my every need…just as He has promised!! God Bless and have an amazing day!!

Sincerely,
Nicole

New Year…New Words

I have been

image

Isaiah 48:17 NLT
This is what the LORD says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.

I am

image

Zephaniah 3:20 NLT
On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again.I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

I am walking in

image

Psalm 119:45 NLT
I will walk in freedom,
for I have devoted myself to your commandments.

John 8:36 NLT
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

One word…Overwhelmed

One word…overwhelmed.

Yesterday, December 13 was my 40th birthday. I spent the day getting a new license, picking up a Christmas gift, CrossFit workout and pedicure with girl friends. Later that evening I ventured out to the intermediate school to celebrate Christmas with my children through the sounds of the choir and band. Everywhere I went people smiled and wished me the happiest of birthdays…I guess the sparkling tiara gave them a hint.

image

When the day came to a close, I sat quietly reading through birthday wishes on Facebook and emails. Overwhelmed by the love and affirmation I received I began to cry. Lord…why have I allowed so many birthdays go by without celebrating. There was a time when I did not want a cake or even a candle. There was a time when birthdays were not happy. That’s another post for another day.

Today, I continue the celebration with some of my dearest friends.
Several friends are in my house at this moment now decorating what sounds like the party of the year!! I promised no peeking as I spend some quite time alone.

image

As I think about the people who are joining us this evening, I am overwhelmed. God has taken me on a journey that has crossed paths with so many wonderfully amazing people. The greatest gift I have received is to know they call me their friend.

image

image

As I walk joyfully into my 40’s, I am truly excited about celebrating all that God has done in my life. The wounds are healing, brokeness is mending, walls of loneliness are  shattered, the emptiness is being filled. God is overwhelming me with His Love, His Mercy, His Grace.

image

Jesus, You make All things NEW!!

Fit by 40

January 2012…Began 2012 with a Daniel fast and my prayer…God set my life in order. My weight is getting out of control. Compulsive eating is killing me.

image

March 2012…Lord please wake me at 5am so I can join my small group girls to workout.

image

March – June 2012…Lord give me strength to continue working out. I know I am becoming a stronger wife & mom.

image

July 2012…Lord thank you for Crossfit. I am encouraged and motivated to always push myself to new levels!!

image

October 2012…Mudsanity 5 mile obstacle course and mud run with my small group family

image

November…met some personal records…195lb back squat and 225lbs for a deadlift

image

December 9, 2012…Completed Santa Hustle 5k in under 45 minutes. Reached a 205lb PR for back squats.

image

I am not done…fit by 40 is just the beginning. I believe God is making all things new. I know we’ve been told we get a new body in Glory. I thank God that because He makes all things new I am receiving a new body on this side of heaven.
image
I run the race set before me and in doing so I may not always come out ahead of anyone else. I may be  slower, I may walk at times but this one thing I know…I will complete the race!!

Prayers for my sister…she is coming to the House

Updated…God has forever called me to pray for my sisters. During the third night of the December Solemn Assembly God laid it heavy on my heart to pray for the women in our church and community.

Specifically, I am praying for women who are bound by “sins of the night”. The addict, the prostitute, the women caught in trafficking, the women abused by pornography.

Will you pray and believe with me, God will send “those” women to this House, The Gathering, to find healing and freedom. I am believing the light on the hill will shine brightly in the darkness for those women as it has for me.

**God prepare us to be ready to receive women from these walks of life. Lord I believe these women have been so beat down by Satan with shame, guilt and fear. They may feel unworthy to come in during the daylight hours. I am praying God raise up an army of women who will stand watch in the midnight hours for the women are bound by “sins of the night”. Lord raise up intercessors to be on the lookout post when theses women enter our house. Lord prepare us to receive women and children who have no place to run but to the House of God.

Five Minute Friday: Race

It’s #FiveMinuteFriday!

We are to write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is posted 1 minute past midnight every Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FMFParty and #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation

RACE

Oh what perfect timing…This Saturday I am participating in a Mud Run with 7 of my very dear friends, including my amazing husband. We are doing the MudSanity in Crossville TN which is a 5 mile obstacle course complete with mud and a lake that we must cross. I have been training for this race since March of this year by doing Insanity workouts, CrossFit, walking and jogging. MudSanity is not necessarily a race to see who wins but a race to complete the course with pride. Yes there will be trophies given and lots of pictures for the winners. For me this mud run is a race against myself and the negative words that have swirled within for decades.

Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” For me the biggest obstacle to overcome is the voice that says I can’t. During my training I have had to overcome the “I can’ts” in my own head. I KNOW that at the end of mile marker 5 I will shout with victory  “I can and I DID run the race set before me!”

Nicole Hawker

  Wanna play? Here’s how:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Found a poem today…

Poems found in “The Disciplines of Life” by V. Raymond Edman

When God wants to drill a man, And thrill a man, And skill a man,

When God wants to mold a man To play the noblest part; When He yearns with all His heart To create so great and bold a man That all the world shall be amazed,

Watch His methods, watch His ways! How He ruthlessly perfects Whom He royally elects! How He hammers him and hurts him, And with mighty blows converts him Into trial shapes of clay which Only God understands; While his tortured heart is crying And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks When his good He undertakes; How He uses who He chooses, And with every purpose fuses him; By every act induces him To try His splendor out God knows what He’s about. (author unknown)

Called by God

It has been a few months since I have stopped by to write…today is the day I choose to share my testimony with you. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and discover who God created me to be. I ask that you not judge me, condemn me, or even praise me.

Several months ago I was starting my day with a short devotional and the Lord stepped in with these words “your quiver is full”. At the time I was unsure of what those words meant. I sat on my bed asking the Lord for more details. I believe the Holy Spirit said to me “your testimony is rich and full of arrows, it’s time.”

When I was a student in middle and high school, I loved the sport of archery. Not sure what my aim was like back then but there was something exciting about pulling back and seeing how close I would come to my target. I am not one to follow astrological signs but as a Sagittarius I find it not so odd that I loved the sport. Now 20 years later the Lord has used that imagery to show me something deeper about myself.

You see, my story begins long long ago as a child. My mother raised me in a Christian home, we were faithful to our church and to our church family. At the age of 8 I accepted the Lord as my Savior and followed Him into baptism by immersion. As the cards were dealt to me my father died when I was 10 years old of a heart attack and several years later began the decline of my teen years. At the age of 12 I encountered relationships that would strip away every ounce of purity I had. By the time I reached my senior year of high school I had experimented with substances that break my heart when I consider the grip of the enemy on my life. A few years later, I would find myself failing out of college on a fast road to destruction. Even into my marriage a few years later, I continued to be deceived by the enemy. On the surface yes those were declining years, but God spoke to me and said those were years of war fare. I celebrate not those years, I forget not where I have come from and the battles won. The scriptures tell us in Isaiah 54; 17 “No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the Lord’s servants and their righteousness is from Me.” No weapon the enemy sends against me shall prosper. I believe the enemy has been sending weapons (arrows) my way for a very long time. Weapons of fear, weapons of death, weapons of self doubt, weapons of anger, weapons of insecurity, weapons of doubt and criticism from others, the list goes on and on.

According to Isaiah 54:17, there have been and will be weapons that come against me. This verse also says these weapons will not prosper. As I sat on my bed and I pondered this question, Lord if weapons come against me and they do not prosper, what happens to those weapons? Immediately the Lord spoke back and said, “Your quiver is full of arrows that have been refashioned and formed for My glory. Each of those arrows have a name, a purpose and target.” And one by one the Lord began to reveal the specific name of each arrow in my quiver.

Let me pause here and we will come back to the names of each arrow. That morning a few months ago the Lord also gave some additional insight into the sport of archery. There are several components that one must have when taking on the sport of archery. Today I will wrap up by tell you about one specific component the Lord opened my eyes to.

All of my life even as a child and as a teenager I knew there is a specific call on my life. In my early 20’s when I turned my life and my heart back towards the Father, that call was made loud and clear in my soul. That calling is my quiver, the place where I hold my arrows. The place where the Father has fashioned arrows, the place where I am to draw from when it is time to enter the ring of warfare. The enemy knows the call on my life is specific and sharp which is why in every way he has tried to kill, steal and destroy everything about me. The devil has tried to keep me from that calling because he knows my arrows are sharp. He knows I have been tested by his efforts and the Lord has sharpened His weapons of warfare

My quiver, my calling, my place of ministry and service to the Kingdom, the place where I have trained, sharpened and tested to do warfare. Wait…let me ask you what is your calling? What has God called you to in His Kingdom? Some would say I have been called to youth ministry, some would say I have been called to pastor a church, some would say I have been called to children’s ministry, some would say I have been called to be a missionary, some would say I have been called to senior adult ministry, some would say I have been called to be a worship leader. The local church applauds and congratulates these callings, the local church parades these callings, the local church even ordains these callings.

I have been called to Women’s Ministry. I know without a shadow of doubt in my heart and soul and the very fiber of my being that is my calling. For so many years, I have allowed the enemy to LIE to me. The devil has tried to get me to think I have been called to 100 other things in my life. A children’s pastor, can serve in the youth department, but he knows in his heart his calling. The worship leader can participate in mission trips but he knows in his heart his calling. I can do all things asked of me, but at the end of the day I know my calling is to serve the body of Christ, most specifically women from ages 18-118. I know within my calling is to encourage, motivate, strengthen, teach, train, and build up women to become who they are called to be in the Kingdom of God. For too long, I have waited for others to recognize that calling on my life. The Lord has said no more, I have called you not man. The Lord said my quiver, my calling is Women’s Ministry. The arrows are specific to the weapons the devil tried to use to kill and destroy me as a woman. The devil knows the names of each of my arrows and he has been decisive in his attempts. Today I stand here to tell the devil, no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

Today I continue to work full-time yet anticipate the day when I am able to move into full-time ministry. Until then, I appreciate the opportunities to minister and serve the families and women I come into contact with on a daily basis.

New Thing

Testing the waters of blogging…This is a definitely a new thing for me. As one who rarely journals my thoughts this could be interesting if not humorous at times. Above all I hope it becomes something that edifies others.

If you are an avid blogger or reader of blogs I would appreciate and honor feedback!!

So where shall I start….

Nicole