Nicole speaks to us about reflecting God’s goodness, praising God through illness, finding God in the midst of seeking peace, and the book that has been a game changer in her life.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: My favorite (and life) verse is 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I love this one so deeply that it’s tattooed on my forearm as a constant reminder of how good God is. When I was in college, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Years leading up to that, I was in and out of doctors appointments, with no resolve. This verse was a source of comfort, knowing that even in my physical and emotional weakness, Jesus’ grace was enough.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Prayer. During my early twenties, I had a really difficult time understanding why we pray and why it is important. I’d think to myself, “If God already knows what’s going to happen, why would my prayer change His mind?” As I grew in the knowledge and practice of prayer, I’ve learned more recently to pray God-sized prayers. You know, those ones you pray for and think “no way that could happen…”, that’s where I’m at. Learning to stretch myself to not feel silly asking for those things and stretch my faith in knowing my God wants to hear those prayers.
“You know, those ones you pray for and think ‘no way that could happen…’”
Profession: I currently work in tech in the Silicon Valley (California), but have owned my own business as a wedding planner and calligrapher. Plan My Wedding Please has been such a fun adventure!
A one sentence bio of yourself: I’m Nicole, a Jesus-loving gal who loves burgers, red wine, The Bachelor, ocean views, and matte lipstick.
When did you first encounter God? Even though I grew up in a Christian home and attended private Christian school through middle school, I’d say I didn’t really encounter Jesus until I was thirteen. There had been a lot of difficult things happening in my family, and I had a hard time coming to terms with those situations. Even though I knew everything I did about Jesus, I wanted to experience it for myself and make that relationship my own. In a constant search for solace and peace, Jesus made Himself so clear that He was good and the only way to heaven. It’s a moment I’ll never forget for as long as I live.
“In a constant search for solace and peace, Jesus made Himself so clear that he was good and the only way to heaven. It’s a moment I’ll never forget for as long as I live.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Community paired with accountability, by far, has always been what’s helped me grow. I am crazy blessed to have the greatest friends there ever could be. Like, if you were able to meet these ladies, you’d feel the same way. Our relationships have been founded on truth: who we are in our identities and who Jesus is. We speak with grace, but don’t have a problem asking the hard questions. We rejoice when good things are happening, mourn with those who need it, and everything in between.
Just read/currently reading: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist has been a game changer. It has caused me to deal with my perfectionistic tendencies and learn the practice of being gracious with myself. Choosing to be present not only occurs when I’m face-to-face with others, but in dealing with emotions.
Top three essentials: If you’re talking about the three things I can’t live without, that’s a hard one. After a long time thinking this over, I’d have to say FaceTime, red meat (I know, so bad for my health), and loved ones. If you’re talking about my top three daily essentials, that one’s a little easier: mascara, coffee, and essential oils.
How did God speak to you recently? I feel like that has a lot to do with prayer. I’ve been convicted of praying for things I know God can answer— things that would be easy. And even though I know God can answer the big prayers, it’s really hard to ask for those things. Feeling inadequate or not worthy of asking those things, I feel like that aspect of my relationship with the Lord has been stifled, to some capacity. I know that those aren’t true and that can’t be the way I live my life, so I choose to pray those big prayers, regardless.
Hobby: Does watching TV count? I feel so silly saying this, but I truly LOVE television. I have shows, like The Bachelor, that just bring me so much joy and laughter. I do watch a lot of these shows with family and friends, so it’s a way of bonding for us.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Find community to hold you accountable. We aren’t meant to do our faith alone. Second, find a mentor. I’ve had one ever since I was in high school, and even though that person has changed for me over those twelve years, there’s always been someone with more experience and wisdom than me. Finally, give Jesus your best. None of this I’ll-read-my-Bible-right-before-I-go-to-bed-when-I’m-already-half-asleep business. Believe me, I’ve done that more times than I can count, but choosing to give Him our first and our best really sets the tone for the time we have with Him.
Favorite person in scripture? Mary, mother of Jesus. The Lord saw her as someone who was fit to bring Jesus into the world. Now, I can’t imagine the pressure that holds for a young girl, but I’m reminded that God saw the very best in her. He saw her heart and character, rather than her age or social standing. She had nothing to offer, but the Lord saw her and still gave her that privilege. Even if we feel inadequate or undeserving based on our social standing, age, gender, religion, or however the world defines us, God sees us for who we are and through the lens of Jesus.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? When people see me, I want them to see that God was, is, and always will be good. Throughout my struggles with health, I have been sick a lot. I’ve lacked the capacity, energy, and ability to do what I would have liked. I’ve felt like a bad friend, daughter, sister, co-worker and human sometimes. In all those years of being undiagnosed, poked and prodded by needles, medications, and appointments, I knew deep down none of this was in vain. God was good in every circumstance, drawing me closer to Himself, proving He (and HE alone) is worthy to be praised.
“When people see me, I want them to see that God was, is, and always will be good.”
Favorite season? If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said summer. I love the sunshine, driving with the sunroof open, long weekends at the beach— you name it. I’m a California girl at heart. As I’ve gotten older, I’d say fall. I love the change in colors, warmer clothes and blanket scarves. But now that I’ve typed it all out, I’ll still say summer.
Favorite holiday? Fourth of July. It’s all about the fireworks, BBQ (have I said burgers are my favorite food, yet?) and celebrating our freedom as Americans. My dad served in the military, so it has a special place in my heart.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: On all holidays, we play board games, all day long. We do simple breakfasts, appetizers all day while playing different games, and then, eat a big dinner.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I think I’d ask to see family members and friends who have passed.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: This will sound so random, but diet sodas. The aspartame in them (and gum too!) is so, so bad for people. I was actually pre-nursing my first three years of college and did a ton of research on the topic. Aspartame, over time, can cause autoimmune diseases, blindness, arthritis, and like thirty other issues. I’ll spare you the long list and speech by just saying stop drinking this stuff. It’s so bad for you!
“Aspartame, over time, can cause autoimmune diseases, blindness, arthritis, and like thirty other issues.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Sleep… your girl loves her sleep. If I happen to be awake, I’m looking through memes on my Instagram explore page. My sister and my best friend are in a giant thread of memes, and we love sending those.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is about loving God and loving his people.