God promised to hold my hand

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Today…I continue to look toward Nairobi Kenya. Two months and $2800 more to go. I trust God’s promise to hold my hand along the way from America to Kenya.

Isaiah 41:8-10; 13-16

“But as for you, Israel my servant,
Jacob my chosen one,
descended from Abraham my friend,
I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
and will not throw you away.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

For I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob,
don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you.
I am the Lord, your Redeemer.
I am the Holy One of Israel.’
You will be a new threshing instrument
with many sharp teeth.
You will tear your enemies apart,
making chaff of mountains.
You will toss them into the air,
and the wind will blow them all away;
a whirlwind will scatter them.
Then you will rejoice in the Lord.
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

 

May God bless you as you prayerfully consider how you can partner with me on this mission trip. I welcome prayer partners to join me in praying for safe travels and protection. I welcome prayer partners to pray for the financial provisions of this mission trip. I also welcome financial partners who believe in the work the Lord is accomplishing around the globe. Your tax-deductible donation enables willing missionaries, like me, be the hands and feet of Jesus. You may send you gift to The Lords Child P.O. Box P.O. Box 6120 Sevierville, TN 37864 with my name in the memo line.

May God Bless You!!

Nicole

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Me…Afraid? #FiveMinuteFriday #FMFParty

Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday. This is where we come together to write for 5 minutes all with the same word prompt. We write without editing or overthinking.  And then we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

Check out what everyone is sharing on the word AFRAID here

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3 – 2 – 1 GO

The ultimate performance trap. I’ve lived my life for many years feeling trapped. There seemed to be no way out. I would see small glimmers of hope but again the chains would close…trapped. I spent so much time trying to figure out where I fit in. In the black community, I was too white.  In the white community, I was too black. In the skinny community I was too fat. In the quiet community I was too loud. In the loud community I was too quiet. In the intellectual community I was not smart enough. In the mediocre community, I was too educated. Trapped in a swirl of lies and deception.chains

One day in 2012, I resolved it was time to break free and live my life unafraid of what people thought about me. I began to look myself in the mirror and start asking “Who are you? and What does God say about you?”.Who am I

I am still on a journey, some days I still walk afraid of what people think of me. Then I come back to God’s Word. He reminds me I am redeemed with an everlasting love and it is the Lord who has called me to this place, by name for His name sake.

Song of my life…

“Redeemed”…Big Daddy Weave

Seems like all I could see was the struggle Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past Bound up in shackles of all my failures Wondering how long is this gonna last Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free So I’ll shake off these heavy chains Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy Named by the voice of my shame and regret But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head” I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free So I’ll shake off these heavy chains Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me ‘Cause his day is long dead and gone Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free So I’ll shake off these heavy chains Wipe away every stain, ’cause I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free So I’ll shake off these heavy chains Wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be Jesus, I’m not who I used to be ‘Cause I am redeemed Thank God, redeemed

Headed to Nairobi Kenya

I am so excited to share with you that I am going back to Africa!! September 2010 I had the amazing privilege to travel with a mission team, including my then 17 year old son to Kampala Uganda. It was a mission trip experience I will never forget. Because of people like you who prayed and provided financial resources I was blessed abundantly. I had the opportunity to share the love and gospel of Jesus with hundreds of African women and children. Due to technology like Facebook and Smartphones I have been able to remain contact with some of the amazing people I met while in Uganda.

I was happy to find out that I have been invited to go on a second Missions 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 13-22, 2013. We have an opportunity this year to visit and work with Orbit Village.

Orbit Village operates a Christian school of 450 children grades k thru 12. In addition they have an orphanage consisting of 75 children. While there, at the village, we will work with the staff and children daily. We will conduct a medical clinic at the school. You can visit their website @ http://www.orbitvillage.org. Additionally we will go to a refugee camp on two separate days to conduct a medical clinic and bible school.

Now, all I need is the money to get there. We will be involved in fundraisers to earn money, however, I will need sponsors. Right now I am looking for 40 people to sponsor me for $75 toward this, my 2nd mission journey to Africa. However, I realize that this amount may not be possible, so any amount that you might be able to give would be greatly appreciated. If you are sending a check, please make it out to The LORD’S Child P.O. Box 612 Sevierville, TN 37864. I believe that with prayer and God’s help my financial need will be met.

Please pray for me as I prepare for this mission and while we are there. Pray that people will see the love of Jesus through us and will be touched in some way. My prayer is that this trip proves to be life changing for the people of Nairobi, Kenya even more than for myself.

Thank you for letting me share with you what I feel will be one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. If you cannot help in a financial way, please help support me with your prayers.

In His service, Nicole

Going back to Africa…Nairobi, Kenya!!!

I am so excited to share with you that I am going back to Africa!! September 2010 I had the amazing privilege to travel with a mission team, including my then 17 year old son to Kampala Uganda. It was a mission trip experience I will never forget. Because of people like you who prayed and provided financial resources I was blessed abundantly. I had the opportunity to share the love and gospel of Jesus with hundreds of African women and children. Due to technology like Facebook and Smartphones I have been able to remain in contact with some of the amazing people I met while in Uganda.

I was happy to find out that I have been invited to go on a second Missions trip with The LORD’S Child (http://thelordschild.com) along with others from my church. Our team will be traveling to the country of Nairobi, Kenya from May 13-22, 2013. We have an opportunity this year to visit and work with Orbit Village. Orbit Village operates a Christian school of 450 children grades k thru 12. In addition they have an orphanage consisting of 75 children. While there, at the village, we will work with the staff and children daily. We will conduct a medical clinic at the school. You can visit their website @ http://www.orbitvillage.org. Additionally we will go to a refugee camp on two separate days to conduct a medical clinic and bible school.

Now, all I need is the money to get there. We will be involved in fundraisers to earn money, however, I will need sponsors. Right now I am looking for 40 people to sponsor me for $75 toward this, my 2nd mission journey to Africa. However, I realize that this amount may not be possible, so any amount that you might be able to give would be greatly appreciated. If you are sending a check, please make it out to The LORD’S Child. I believe that with prayer and God’s help my financial need will be met.

Please pray for me as I prepare for this mission and while we are there. Pray that people will see the love of Jesus through us and will be touched in some way. My prayer is that this trip proves to be life changing for the people of Nairobi, Kenya even more than for myself.

Thank you for letting me share with you what I feel will be one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. If you cannot help in a financial way, please help support me with your prayers.

In His service,
Nicole

New Year…New Hair

2013The Big Chop aka BC.

I have talked about this day for months…well actually years. I’ve joked about it with my husband and sort kinda mentioned it to friends. Over the years I have worn my hair in braids, long weaves, curly weaves, relaxed, finger waves, color treated and every thing in between. As some would say “fried, dyed and laid to the side”. Going for the BC also means going back to my roots, literally and allowing my hair to grow out naturally without all the harsh chemicals and hot styling tools. Why the change…

Last year I began a journey to uncover the one question most of us ask ourselves a time or two. “Who am I?” It started with a few friends asking me to exercise and commit to getting into shape. This led to an ever-increasing awareness that I am a child of God made in His image and likeness. I am a daughter of the King to be adored and celebrated for all the ways in which I am created. As a daughter of the King, I am to present my body as a living sacrifice and as a temple that embodies the living Holy Spirit. As I stood one day looking in the mirror I knew deep in my heart I was a walking time bomb waiting to explode with some kind of health issue or another. Check out some of my earlier blogs about my journey to better health.

Today I’m discovering more and more that I have allowed society to dictate many areas of my life; not just what I put on the inside of my body but how the outside of my body looks to others. Standing in that same mirror, I committed to take off the wigs, let go of the extensions, lay down the hot combs, and wash away all the relaxers. new photo
It was time to become the natural me. Around the same time I stumbled upon a twitter conversation with 3 other women talking about going all natural. They talked about doing the BC, watching youtube videos, blogging and vlogging about our transformations. I was still very hesitant…it was great to meet up with sistas on-line and talk about hair. In my everyday I don’t cross paths with too many women who understand all that goes into “doing my hair”. So I decided to keep my same do…until Kim’s vlog. My first impression was wow that is a nice vlog. My second impression (speaking to myself)…yea so why are you so caught up in what people think about you. I closed my laptop and called my friend Jamie. I scheduled my appointment and said it’s time!!

January 3, 2012 at 2:00pm I walked into the hair shop, told Jamie my plan and the journey began…I have to admit there was a time or two I looked in the mirror and questioned my decision. I felt where my hair used to be and thought yes this is all natural…just the way God created it.

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I am just starting out on this journey…if you want to learn more,  join me and my friends on Twitter #NaturalHairGFClub. This is where we talk all things natural!!

Happy Styling…

Please leave a comment so I know you were here…

Birthday Love

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Woke up to these words this morning from my amazing husband and I wanted to share them with you!! Next to my salvation, he is one of the greatest gifts from God!!

40 years ago today God brought one Nicole Seronda Cowan into this world. With a path that took her through tragedy, pain, anguish, sorrow and mercy God protected her. Over 20 years ago God introduced her to me and for the past 20 years I have watched in absolute amazement how God has gently combed through her life and turned those things that Satan intended to use to destroy her into jewels of her character. Almost like watching a diamond as it is turned in the light of the sun, God has taken and polished surface after surface and continues to do so right before my very eyes. This I can say with absolute certainty; the brilliance with which God will allow her to shine in the very near future is beyond my capacity to envision. She is truly a gift of God to me and my family. This on Her 40th birthday. Happy birthday my wife my love, my soul mate, the part that makes me one, Nicole Cowan Hawker I love you…
Jon Hawker

Full of Expectancy

It has been 20 years and our family has taken very few vacations. We have been camping, we have ventured out in an RV, we have traveled near and far. This year we are planning our trip to Chincoteague VA. Chincoteague Island is 7 miles long, 1-1/2 miles wide and known for the Assateague pony swim each year in July.

I  expect this year to be a little bit insane as we are traveling with a 18mth old, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 18 year old.  I expect several bathroom stops and lots of whining about who is touching who. I expect there to be times of scolding and many more times of molding our 5 boys and 1 girl. I expect there to be times of utter chaos and times of sweet peace.With all of these expectations I am also expecting time alone with the Lord. I am expecting to break away from the everyday norm and carve out walks along the beach at sunset. I am expecting times of refreshing as I watch the sunrise from our sky gazebo.

My prayer as we prepare to leave in less than 24 hours…Lord open our hearts and minds to the things you want to reveal to us during this time away. Lord in the middle of our expectations, renew in us a desire to expect Great things from You. Lord may we seek you in all that we do and may we forever find you in the places we least expected.

And for those of who are wondering…yes I have located 3 CrossFit boxes 🙂

 

 

 

Life as a foster Mom

It’s 2am and the phone rings. “Ms. Hawker this is Jill from the Dept of Children Svc and we are looking for placement of 3 children.” As I try to wake up and understand the information being presented I have to process what it will be like to bring more children into our home.

In 1996 we accepted our first foster child with a couple more to follow. After moving a few times and receiving my MA in Marriage and Family Therapy we decided it was time to open our home again. So in 2009 we signed up for the call. The process of becoming a foster parent was a 12 week parenting course that covered everything from child abuse, cultural diversity, working with birth parents and the legal system. My husband and I learned so much about what it means to be parents, even though we already had three birth children. Since our training classes in 2009 we have fostered about 20 children in our home. And have provided respite (temporary care) for several others.

When we receive a call to accept a child, or a sibling group, we know very little about the children. We are told their age, sex and race. If medical issues are known by DCS, we may find out however some families are very reluctant to share. Children have come to us at all hours of the day and night. They generally come with the clothing on their backs and maybe one other outfit. They come hungry, tired and scared. Several children have come to our home with lice, roaches, scabies, foul language, aggressive behavior and most without appropriate discipline. Each child is different and each situation has called for grace, humility and a goal to love the child.

When the paperwork is complete and goodbyes are done by the state worker who brings the child to our home, the child is left with strangers. As a foster family we do our best to let the child know they are safe, they will be fed and no harm will come upon them. The first night especially for little ones is tough. One time we had a 7 year brother lay next to his 4 yr old sister trying to comfort her all the while needing to be comforted himself.

As the days pass there are initial court hearings that the children and I must attend. This is generally my first meeting with the parents. I have had some good experiences and some pretty sad experiences meeting the birth mothers for the first time. If the children are in school, they must be enrolled within about 5 days. Next comes the medical and dental appointments that must be completed within 30 days. After about 2-3 weeks the state will help with getting clothes.

Real life everyday living. Our home is approved for a total of 6 children, my three plus three. Some days get a little wild and crazy. Waking up six kids for school, getting everyone bathed and fed requires an extra dose of coffee in the morning. Homework, afternoon sports, dinner and baths become like a revolving door; it just keeps moving. Our grocery bill increases a bit, our water bill goes up, but God always provides. One year my friend Tamara showed up in the middle of the night with a box of food and toiletries. Others have lent us car seats, given us clothes and provided a listening ear.

As I’ve mentioned I have three children of my own. They are a vital part in everything we do as a foster family. As we are making decisions to accept children we consider not only the physical and emotional; but also the spiritual impact other children will have on our birth children. My children have become very aware of some of the “baggage” that foster children bring. My children have learned to share not only their toys, their home, their parents but also their faith. My children enjoy helping to take care of, mentor and befriend each child that comes into our home. When certain children have left, my kids have asked how they are doing and if they will ever see their friends again.

It’s not easy being a foster parent. The kids don’t always receive love and discipline. The birth parents can be mean and blame us for taking their children. Well meaning friends have questioned why we have those kids in our home. Being a foster parent doesn’t really require any special skills or traits. It does require a few schedule adjustments and a few unknowns. Being a foster parent doesn’t require major financial burdens, the state will help along the way. It does require an extra couple meals and a few extra loads of laundry. Being a foster parent doesn’t require a big house with a big front yard. It does require space in your heart to love one created by God. Being a foster parent doesn’t require being perfect it just requires being a parent to a child.

I agree not everyone is called to be a foster parent. So you may ask how you can help. Pray for a foster family. The beginning of a school year tends to bring awareness to the plight of children and more come into the foster system. Consider helping a foster family with school supplies, diapers, formula, whatever God lays on your heart. Consider emailing or sending a card to a foster family. Consider making a special package for the birth children, sometimes they feel left out. There are so many ways to support foster families and the children they serve. With over 1,200 foster children between Knox, Blount and Sevier County the need is definitely present to get involved.

Today I sit watching over 3 blond headed, green eyed boys and 2 of the most compassionate children I have ever met.

Isaiah 58:7 NLT “Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them…”

James 1:27 NLT “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows…”

I am also drawn to a small little word tucked in 1 Timothy 3:2..”hospitable”.

Thank you for letting me share my journey. It’s just a small part of who I am but I believe it’s making big marks on the hearts of the children we serve in our home.

Nicole

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Uganda Mission Trip Update

This morning at 6:30 am me & oldest son, Brandon started our oral Typhoid Vaccine. We are beginning to count down the days until we set off to the other side of the globe. Today…43 days until leave with @theLORDSCHILDtn & @GatheringFamily for #Uganda2011.

Friends have asked me “Are you getting excited?” Absolutely however I am more than ecstatic that my Brandon is taking his first mission journey!! A friend recently told me how proud she is of my son. She praised him for being a respectful and compassionate young man. God has created my son to be a friend to anyone who needs a friend. God has gifted him with the ability to seek out the misfits and the outcasts and to touch them with the gift of friendship. I believe God will capture my son’s heart in Uganda in a brand new way. I believe God will open a wide mission field before my son’s eyes!!

I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have committed to pray & financially support our mission trip to Uganda Africa. YOU are a blessing to us and those going on this trip with us!! Once again THANK YOU for sending us and praying BOLD prayers!!

For this boy, I prayed…

Thank you friends and family for your continued prayers!! God is definitely opening the flood gates of heaven!! I am super EXCITED to take my 17 yr old son Brandon on this mission trip to Uganda!! Today I want to share with you a little bit about my son Brandon. I am so proud God chose me to be his momma. 

A little about my son….Brandon was born June 18, 1994 in Nassawadox VA. The delivery was a long 28 hours which turned into a C-Section. Brandon was born with a collapsed lung and not breathing. He had to spend several days in the hospital after his delivery. As Brandon grew and matured he became a very healthy & very active young boy. About the age of 5 we began him on an ADHD medication called Adderall. Several months later we noticed round patches of hair loss. Unsure of the cause we had Brandon evaluated by many specialists. At the age of about 7 or 8; after total hair loss, we were given a diagnosis of Alopecia. Alopecia is simply known as hair loss without a specific cause. In Brandon’s case we also found out he had an over active immune system with prevented his body from contacting viral and bacterial illnesses. What a blessing even in the midst of him not having any hair.

Fast forward….Brandon has received much ridicule and taunting from his peers due to the hair loss. Brandon began to regrow hair however it was very random. In 2008 we took a family trip to Myrtle Beach and for the first time we celebrated Brandon having a relatively full head of hair. That was the first time his hair was also long enough to braid. Today I still braid his hair about once a month because he refuses to have his hair cut. There are still a few bald spots that go generally undetected.

This fall Brandon begins his last of high school; he graduate May 2012. Wow…where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was waving good-bye as he went off to Kindergarten at Fruitland Elementary. Earlier this year Brandon was named the Seymour Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.  A few weeks ago we were taking his senior pictures and it so bittersweet. Several years ago, I remember someone telling me God was going to use our son in ways beyond anything we could hope or imagine. Over the past few months, that is becoming clear. Brandon has a compassionate heart that draws people to him. He is kind gentle and loves the Lord. He loves to help others especially those the world deems unworthy. He seeks out and makes friends with the kids who sit on the fringes and attempts to bring the hope of Jesus through friendship.

September 9-17 Brandon is taking his first journey around the world. Brandon has been on mission trips before, here in the states. He has been on several with his father to the mountains of TN and Grundy VA. In July he is planning to go with his father and mission organization called LiveIt to Alabama. They are helping rebuild a widow’s home which was lost during one of the deadly tornadoes that came through earlier this year.

I am very proud of my son. He may not be the school valedictorian. He’s not the star athlete. He may never be voted most popular by his classmates. Brandon may never receive his name on the school billboards. But those things are like wood and straw…they will burn away. Brandon is known and will be known as the teen who loved to serve others.

Once again it is such an honor to take Brandon on this mission trip in September because I believe the Lord will cement His calling in Brandon’s heart. As a mother that is possibly the greatest gift, to know that our children know without a shadow of doubt the call of the Lord on their lives. I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses my Brandon to touch the heart of millions around this globe.

Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for this journey. Please pray for continued financial provisions. Please pray for our health and physical ability as we go on this mission trip. Please pray for the people in Uganda that we will come in contact with during our time there. Please pray for hearts here in America to be blessed as they pour out blessings and provision towards our mission trip. Please pray for the Lord to be glorified in us and through us!

Blessings….

Nicole

How precious…the heart of a friend

Saturday June 11th is a day etched in my heart as the day my friends carried me to the feet of Jesus. These friends would not allow the normal to over come the supernatural. They believed the Lord would meet my needs.

I woke up Saturday feeling a little anxious about the lack of resources secured for a fall mission trip I’m planning to take. At one point I simply looked upward and said “Lord what are you up to, You said I’m to go on this trip but I have no money.” I began thinking what items could be sold. A few minutes later I receive a text from a very dear sweet friend letting me know she is talking with a potential investor towards my trip. In my lack of faith, I thought that’s awesome a couple hundred dollars is a wonderful blessing.

My sweet friend is part of a group of ladies who meet every Saturday morning to pray and share God’s Word. This particular Saturday, two women came to the small group with a burden to pray for my financial needs for the mission trip. Totally unsolicited by me but motivated by the Holy Spirit. Remember…I’m in my house throwing my worries up to God.

God impressed it up one of the ladies in the Bella Sisters small group to invest a significant amount of money to send both me & my 17 year old son to Uganda. I was so excited that I could not express more than Thank You Lord.

God totally ROCKED my world Saturday on so many levels. God showed me what it means to love someone. God showed me what it means to be called someone’s friend. Love & Friendship: words we sometimes take for granted & let roll off our tongue.

As friends how well do we know each other that we could carry one another’s heart? Thank you Bella’s you carry my heart well…very well!!

Mission Monday…where He Leads I will follow.

This week I had the opportunity to attend a Mission Monday meeting at The Gathering in Sevierville TN. During this meeting I learned of three mission trip opportunities. Two are here in the states and one is around the world to Uganda Africa. Yes Africa!! For more details on each of the mission trip opportunities click here.

As a Christ follower, my aim is Lord where you lead me, I will go. There is an old song I used to sing as a little girl in choir…I have decided to follow Jesus…that’s a bold statement when you boil it down to submitting to follow. I am still praying about where Jesus is leading me to go…could it be around the globe to the middle of the desert or right here in our neighboring county.

Five years ago…I followed the Lord to Venezuela and I left a huge piece of my heart. I will admit I was nervous, scared, anxious, and every other feeling in between. Knowing that my husband had been to Venezuela before me had eased some of those concerns. This year, Jon is not going before me; at least not to Africa. He said to me Monday night…that mission trip is more about you and what God has in store for you.

So this year I am praying…Lord where will You lead? Will you, my friends and family, pray with me? Check back soon as I will post more updates regarding Mission Trip 2011!!

Nicole

Shifting Winds…updated

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

Easter & a Resurrected Soul

Sunday April 24…what an amazing & glorious day. Our church family heard an awesome Gospel Message from Clayton King, campus pastor of Liberty University. He spoke on the three ways to believe in Christ based on John 6. The Jews acknowledged an inherited belief based on past miracles of manna from heaven. Some expressed an intellectual belief and demanded to see Jesus perform miracles in the present. And then there are those who have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Question…how do you believe? Do you believe in Jesus Christ simply because mom, dad and grandma believe? Do you believe because of a miraculous event that took place? Or do you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead, defeated hell, AND confess Him as YOUR personal Savior? Wait…I know what you’re thinking…as long as I believe in Jesus I get to go to heaven. Well if that’s the case…Satan and his demons will be there too…WRONG!! As Clayton King said Sunday the demons, Satan, and even humans who fail to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will NOT be in heaven. If your life, testimony and walk do not line up with confessing Jesus as Lord there is but one final destination for your soul..HELL. Its as real as HEAVEN!!

Now on the other hand; if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, that He rose from the dead and believe He is Lord…then you shall be saved. I remember the day I married my husband…18 years ago. If I continued to live my life as one unmarried he would question my belief and commitment. I learned to live a new life, wear my wedding bands as a symbol of my marital covenant and walk a new walk. The same took place when I confessed Jesus as Lord, I took on the waters of baptism as an outward symbol of an inward experience that Jesus confirmed in my soul. I am now in covenant relationship with Christ. I live as one who is a bride of the King. Not perfect but saved to tell the world what Jesus has done. He not only raised from the dead 2000+ years ago…He resurrected my soul to live abundant and free!!

So Easter is not just a day to celebrate because my grandma celebrated, or a day to celebrate because Jesus healed my body of an incurable disease. Easter is a day that I confess with my mouth…I believe Jesus Christ is the son of the Living God, born of a virgin, He walked this earth for 33 years, was beaten, stripped of his flesh, stripped of his dignity, nails pierced His hands & feet to a cross…and three days later…HE AROSE. He defeated sin, hell and death. Jesus Christ is my Savior, Lord and King!!

So again…how do YOU believe??
Nicole Hawker

Birthdays and a Haircut

Last week my amazing husband turned 40yrs old. One day while preparing for his birthday party I looked in the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of myself. I needed a haircut bad!! As I stared into my own eyes; I felt the Holy Spirit say “Your 40 is coming do you want to look and be the same?” Kinda brushed it off and kept going about my day. Later that afternoon thoughts of my children began to flood my soul.

My oldest son will be 17 yrs old this summer. He has a heart for missions and desires to repair walls torn down by destruction. Not much about me, the physical me, has changed in 17 years. Spiritually I’ve grown up, emotionally I am getting stronger everyday but wow physically. The Holy Spirit gently asked “How are you maintaining the temple of the King?”

My daughter will be 11 in less than a week. Wow is she ever growing up; becoming a young lady every day. She is a worshiper and a teacher to the very core of her being. Once again ever so gentle the Holy Spirit asked “Do you model what it means to a daughter of the Most High King?”

My youngest son is turning 9 later this Spring. We affectionately call him mini-Trump because he is gifted with an amazing thought process, logic and understanding. He is very strong-willed and a fierce competitor. And once again the Holy Spirit nudged me and said “You were once a fighter; why do you let the enemy drive you to complacency about caring for yourself?” Ouch that one stung a little; but so true.

As my husband blew out the candles on his cake; a little bit of me wanted to know his wish. But in that moment as I looked around the room filled with friends and family; I knew the wish, the desire, the Lord has placed in my heart.

I knew something had to change before I reached my 40 candles; at this point I have 21 months. So…yesterday I had my hair cut it dries faster after a good long workout 🙂 I’ve been reading “I dare you to change” by @bilcornelius. It’s time for change!!

Time to become fierce about maintaining the temple. Time to become fierce about walking in confidence and modeling for my children what it means to be a child of the Most High King. Time to allow God to renew my inner strength vigor and energy to be all that God has called me to be as a wife, mom and servant to His Body.

Nicole Hawker

The Journey Continues

Today…I closed a door. As it was shutting a woman asked me “Are you happy with your decision”. Instantly she felt she had offended me but it was a perfect question.

You see this door I closed is one that I probably should never have opened. It was a door to a safe place, a door to a familiar place. What was that door…it was a door which swung on the hinges of my pride. Last fall I made a professional decision that sent me back to working part-time. The work itself was not the issue; the issue is that it stifled my faith in God’s provision & protection.

So to answer the question “Am I happy with my decision?” A resounding yes! As I was closing the door; God opened the door for me to share a small portion of my faith. I had the opportunity to tell of my church family http://www.thegatheringfamily.com. I was able share the value in walking in submission to my husband. I had the opportunity to leave with the respect of my peers and giving Glory to the name of Jesus Christ.

I believe that by closing one door God has the opportunity to open new doors. When I allow the Lord to order my steps; He knows my personality well. He doesn’t wait too long to begin unveiling the path little by little.

The journey continues…
Nicole Hawker
twitter: nicolehawker
Blog: nicolehawker.wordpress.com

My favorite websites:
http://www.thegatheringfamily.com
http://www.myrefuge2011.com

Raising children to love the Lord

Last week our 16yr was invited to attend youth adventure camp with teens from The Gathering in Sevierville TN. Our son is a good young man, with a good heart, a servants heart full of mercy & compassion. He is saved and loves the Lord. Last week our son had an Encounter with God that changed him!! He is no longer just a good kid; he is a young man filled with the passion of the Holy Spirit. His desire is to be a reconciler of people. These were his words upon coming home Saturday…he wants to bring people together and bring them to God. He wants to be trained as a youth pastor and he wants to follow after Christ!! We are proud of our son we believe He, The Holy Spirit, who began a good work in our son will complete that work and through the testimony of Brandon many will be saved!!

Nicole

Goodbye…So Long!

While reading Beth Moore’s latest book I had an Aha Moment. I am the most insecure when trying to taylor my words, thoughts and actions to please those around me. I am the most secure when I think, act, speak, and feel the way God created me to be. When I operate by His standards I am more confident and at ease. When trying to please man (or woman) I am faking it; I know it and God knows it.

Psalm 139 describes in very intimate and elaborate detail to which I was created. God knew what He was doing when He created me as an outspoken, Type A, Choleric, with a hint of Golden Retriever. He knew my spiritual gifts, my weakness and my strengths. As my old Pastor Keith H. would say…I celebrate the uniqueness!!

Dr. Tony Evans just tweeted the following: Many of us are asking God – why aren’t You giving me power? God is asking us – why aren’t you exercising spiritual authority? @drtonyevans

To walk in spiritual authority is to know the Source of power and authority. To walk in power and spiritual authority is to walk with integrity. Integrity of self; being true to live out the design and destiny of Him who created. He, God the Father created me; it is He who shapes me; it is He who molds me and it is He who approves me.

So from this moment forward; as Beth would say insecurity you have been a very very bad friend!!
Looking forward to Beth Moore Simulcast this Saturday with a few friends…there is still room for more!! Come join us as we pursue a life of authenticity and confidence!! Nicole Hawker

Waterfall Dreams

One day…we were ready…then one day we were not…and now God is saying “Get prepared; I’m about to do a new thing; don’t you see it”

When you stand near a waterfall you sense that rush, a rush of peace, a rush of cleansing, a rush that flows endlessly. That’s how God’s grace has been in my life; a waterfall.

God gave my husband and I a very clear vision 10 years ago that He began leaking a few years prior. People have said God doesn’t waste a hurt…well if that is truly the case…we have a mountain full of spices to encourage others.

In the simplest of words that vision lies in restoration; redemption; and a living water that over flows to the inner most parts of husband and wife.

As the waters flow down the rugged jagged mountain there is no idea where that water ends up. But for many water falls become living water.

Nicole Hawker