Today, Nicole speaks to us about the impact of family devotion time in the morning, investing in your children, and all about her great grandmother’s spiritual legacy.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:5-11
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Through my small groups at church and in my personal time with God, I have really been looking at the importance of the Holy Spirit and how lucky we are to have been given such an AMAZING gift from the Lord. I feel like the Spirit is overlooked or is often downplayed, but Jesus said that He had to leave so something even greater could come! The Holy Spirit lives within us and transcends our humanness to give us supernatural strength to take on the world. I have tried to focus on the Holy Spirit more and praising the Lord for giving us such a wonderful piece of Him.
Profession: Stay-at-home mom/homeschool mom. I never saw myself in this position, when I was a young person in college. I had all of these dreams and aspirations to be a journalist in the political realm and travel with dignitaries and world leaders and write about it. Giving up all of those lofty goals to stay at home was another way that I truly relied on the Holy Spirit. He appointed me for such a time as this, and I needed to obey His call for my life.
A one sentence bio of yourself: I am an imperfect wife and mother, who serves a perfect Creator.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I grew up in a very spiritual family. My great grandmother was an immigrant from France who traveled to this country in the early 1900s. I remember the stories that were passed down very vividly. After she had married my great grandfather and had her three children, she did not know the Lord at all. She cussed like a sailor and everyone knew to stay out of her way. One day, she was in a rowboat with my grandfather and some friends, when the boat capsized. Not knowing how to swim, she floundered in the water and cried out, “God! If you save me from drowning, I will serve you for the rest of my life!” Not realizing at the time that she was in shallow water where she could stand, my grandfather helped her to shore. From that point on, she was true to her word. Everyone in our hometown knew that she loved Jesus, and she made sure to mention Him every chance she got no matter the nature of the conversation. It was always pointed back to Jesus.
Her legacy was passed through her children, grandchildren, and now rests with her great grandchildren. Despite my spiritual surroundings from birth onward, my true encounter with God did not occur until I was an adult. After having my first child, I realized I was ruining my Granny’s legacy. Her spiritual discipline and courage was ending with me! Why was I not able to transform my life to reflect the love of Jesus? What would my children see and learn through me? In our small church in South Dakota where my husband was stationed in the Air Force at the time, I was broken. I had my life here on earth, but what about my eternal life? As far as that was concerned, I was dead. I asked the Holy Spirit to breathe life into me again, and He did! Being sanctified in Christ is a lifelong process, and He still molds me every day, but I am so thankful for this encounter over 5 years ago.
“I asked the Holy Spirit to breathe life into me again, and He did!”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? My family, to include my church family, has been instrumental in my spiritual growth. There is a reason that God calls us not to forsake the assembling of believers together. We NEED those earthly relationships to encourage and inspire us. I am so thankful for those who invest time and energy to help me grow.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading two different books by Francis Chan. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity and Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t read these before, I HIGHLY recommend them. They are truly inspirational. I have learned so much about how to strengthen my relationship with God, and how to be more vertically focused rather than horizontally focused. So far, I have seen how focusing on God before anything else can transform every aspect of your life. I can’t wait to see how these books unfold and what else God reveals to me through those pages.
Top three essentials:
1. The One Year Bible – If you have a goal to read through the entire Bible, but you are struggling to get through it chronologically, this Bible is fantastic!
2. Journaling Notebook – I am OBSESSED with a good journal. I haven’t always been consistent with it, but I am trying to make it more of a routine now. I like to write out prayer requests that I hear about, praises, and jot down thoughts about my day. It is great to look back on and see how God answered a prayer.
3. Podcasts – I such a fan of a good podcast. I love to be encouraged and uplifted by other women who are either currently experiencing the same things I am, or who are veterans and share their wisdom. My favorites are The God Centered Mom podcast, The Busy Mom podcast, and The Homemaking Foundations podcast
How did God speak to you recently? Our church travels to the Dominican Republic once or twice a year to assist the full-time missionaries that we support financially. Our church is now the “grandfather” to over 40 churches that have been planted within the Dominican! One of the pastors of the first church that was started there, Elvis (a native to the Dominican), wanted so badly to visit our church and meet everyone that had supported and prayed for their ministry over the last few years. Our leadership surprised him and his family with a trip to the United States to spend a week here and meet our church family. Along with the help of a translator, our pastor interviewed him during one of our Sunday morning services. You felt the Holy Spirit permeating the room that morning. He was so passionate and so willing to be used by the Lord. It didn’t matter what he was called to do, he and his family listened. His children were even asked about their role in the ministry and you could tell that the Holy Spirit lived in them also. I truly felt God telling me that I needed to trust Him and do more to build the Kingdom.
Hobby: I love to write, so I find myself jotting down topics or ideas in my spare time. I also love to read, and not JUST Christian Nonfiction. I am currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I LOVE IT! I would also recommend checking out the movie on Netflix. My husband and I also love watching shows together.
Living in Central Florida, we also enjoy weekend trips to our favorite amusement parks. We have been Disney passholders in the past and we currently have annual passes to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Zoo Tampa. We enjoy a good day spent with family at a theme park or zoo!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Spend time in God’s Word. Knowing what God says about certain issues will help you fight the spiritual battles that you face.
2. Make time for fervent prayer. Don’t just bow your head for a meal, when you need help, or for a quick minute at the end of the day. Talk to him all the time. Write down things that you want to discuss with him. Spiritual warfare begins in your head. Make sure that you are praying ALL THE TIME so Satan is not able to permeate our most vulnerable place; the mind.
3. Have someone around you that holds you accountable. It could be a spouse, a parent, or a friend. It doesn’t matter. Make sure that you have someone who you can trust to be honest with you and tell you when something you are doing isn’t right.
Favorite person in scripture? Job. The guy was persecuted and faced with trials worse than the average person, and even though he questioned God and probably wanted to give up at times, he praised God through it all. I think we could all take notes from Job.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want them to see that Jesus can truly transform your life. You cannot change on your own and with your own power. It takes the Holy Spirit within you to live differently and to not be transformed by the world around you. I want people to see a Servant of the Lord who loves recklessly, and desires to share that love with everyone.
Favorite season? Living in Florida, we usually only have one season: HOT, with a few cool days sprinkled in, sometimes. Even though sweater weather is short lived, I love fall. The smells, the foods, football, and fun events around our area make me look forward to it every year.
Favorite holiday? Christmas… and mainly because Christmas music is LIFE. I start listening to Christmas music months in advance because one month is just not enough! I love all of the fun festivals, crafts, parties, and special times with family.
A dream you have? I would love to have a blog that is read by thousands of women. I started my Instagram page to share our homeschooling journey, but I would love to see that grow into something even bigger. I love the community that I have met so far. They are all so special and encouraging.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: During the weeks that precede Thanksgiving, we write down something we are thankful for every day and keep them on display as a centerpiece at our dining room table. This past year, we found the Turkey on the Table, and that was really fun for our kids to do. On Thanksgiving day, you read through all of the things that you are thankful for. It truly puts you in a positive mindset.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I definitely want to have a sit-down with Paul, Abraham, and Solomon. I just want to hear their personal account of everything that they went through. I don’t know that I would even find asking God a question important or not. I would probably be too stunned by His presence and seeing Him for the first time.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I want to encourage young mothers to invest in their children. I know that this generation is different because we have women who have careers while having children, single moms who are working multiple jobs to feed their families, and those who simply want to work to have a break from their kids. I know that there are circumstances that prevent moms from being able to stay at home full time, but if that is the case for you, PLEASE make sure that you prioritize quality time with your children. Even as stay at home moms, we tend to want to busy our children with playgroups, sports, and events because we feel that is what they need. However, what they most need is a mom who is present, who teaches them how to live a Godly life, and who cherishes them. The world isn’t going to teach your children about Jesus, ladies!
“However, what they most need is a mom who is present, who teaches them how to live a Godly life, and who cherishes them.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? I usually wake up around 7, and the kids aren’t far behind me. We immediately head to the living room, snuggle on the couch, and read a Bible passage and our devotional. It is so uplifting to start the day this way and sets the tone for our entire day. On days where we have something going on, and this step is skipped, we can really tell. The day is just off and our attitudes aren’t where they need to be.
“It is so uplifting to start the day this way and sets the tone for our entire day. On days where we have something going on, and this step is skipped, we can really tell.”
What is on your nightstand? All of the books I am currently reading, my Bible, my journal, my Corkcicle cup, and usually a bottle of lotion (dry skin queen here!).
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that calls you to love, live, and lead like Him.
For more Nicole:
Until next time, keep witnessing!