Today, our lovely friend (and one of our pandemic medical heroes) Noelle speaks to us about a special beach house filled with memories, a turning point in her life, the importance of Godly friendships, and finding direction. You don’t want to miss it!
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in Connecticut, in a town right near the beach. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent summers going down as often as I could to our family beach house, which also happened to be just at the other end of the town that I grew up in. The beach is definitely my favorite place to be. In the summer, you can always catch me down on the sand, toes in the water, sunbathing, with a good book always in my hand. As for my family, I’ve been blessed with two amazing parents and an older brother. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I was raised Catholic and went to private Catholic schools for K-8 and all of high school. I always tell people high school days were my favorite years. However, I am no longer practicing the Catholic faith. When I was in 8th grade, my parents left the Catholic Church. We are now Christian.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: One of my favorite passages has always been Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who believes that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: If I am being completely honest, I was once on a path of diligently reading my Bible or a devotional every day. Now, I find myself wandering, sometimes. (Side note: I have the “She Reads Truth” Bible, and I highly recommend it for young women who need direction with how to read the Bible.) My growth focus would be to definitely get back to where I was. I want my relationship with the Lord to become stronger.
Profession: I am an Emergency Room Technician at a local hospital with plans to go back to school for my nursing degree. I am currently in school, online, taking prerequisite classes.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I have always known God. I was definitely raised in a home to be a believer. I mentioned before that I grew up Catholic. After leaving the Catholic Church, being in high school it wasn’t “cool” at that age to talk about God. Though it was a Catholic high school, I found religion boring and was more focused on having fun than going to church or practicing my faith. My family started going to a nondenominational church, and I would go on some Sundays or for holidays. Then, college came and church was even further from being my main focus. I was now living away from home in another state, more focused on living a college life. My college years were definitely when things changed for me. I had my first serious relationship. I was so naive and things went sour fast. After some falling outs with friends, which followed the break up of said “serious” relationship, I wanted to move back home. I found myself in a place that I was no longer enjoying the school that I was in, surrounded by negativity in the people I was with, and to add on to the list, I was pursuing a career I didn’t even like, which leads me to the answer in the next question.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? My parents told me that as a child, I’d sit in front of the television watching TLC medical shows, open heart surgery, and other operations. I was always so gravitated towards those kinds of things and anything related to helping people and being a nurturing person to other kids as well. You go in to college as an 18 year old and people are expecting you to always have it all figured out. As I mentioned earlier, I came from a private Catholic high school, and while I did well in high school and got good grades, something in me was always intimidated by jumping into nursing right away. When college decision time came around, I ended up choosing a school that didn’t even have medical field majors as an option, at all.
I panic-mode picked teaching as a freshman and ran with it because I loved kids and thought maybe it would be a good fit for me since nursing seemed out of the question. Fast forward to sophomore year of college, I was ending the first serious relationship I had ever been in. I found myself completely alone. I lost a boyfriend and so many friends at the same time because of how small of a school it was. I was alone a lot, and it made me think even more about how unhappy I truly was, pursuing this career, in this state I wanted nothing to do with anymore. This, for me, was when I realized I needed God in my life more than I ever had before.
My mom was always a strong advocate for telling me to be friends with all kinds of people but that I also need Godly girls in my life, especially. I honestly always used to think it was annoying because I would say to her, “I already have friends. I don’t need anymore. Godly or not.” In this instance though, I realized she was right. I needed Godly girls my age, to help me realize I truly wasn’t alone, and I needed them now more than ever. (If you’re fortunate enough to have a loving, Godly mother, guys– Listen to your mothers! They’re always right!) I ended up moving home and transferring to a local college, after giving it a second try for one semester of my junior year. We found a church, through a family friend, and I quickly met girls who were just like me. It was a “crazy” realization that other girls my age had “done the college life” and came back from it.
God always gives us grace in times we don’t think we would ever deserve it. These girls were my saving grace. To this day, they’re still two of my closest friends, almost 8 years later. They helped me realize God will always give me that grace. They helped me realize that it was okay that I made those mistakes in college, but I needed to change and do my best, daily, to not make those same mistakes again. God showed me exactly what I needed during that time in college. I will be thankful for those days forever, because I wouldn’t know Him today like I do, if it were not for those days.
“I needed Godly girls my age, to help me realize I truly wasn’t alone, and I needed them now more than ever.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? In 2019, I officially started my career in the medical field, as an ER Tech. I never expected to be working in the Emergency Room and navigating through a global pandemic during my first year in the medical field. I’ve grown spiritually through this, realizing that it is important to trust God daily with all of the uncertainty that has been going on in this world since the pandemic started. He has control of everything if you trust in Him.
“I’ve grown spiritually through this, realizing that it is important to trust God daily with all of the uncertainty that has been going on in this world since the pandemic started.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?)? My latest read was the true story about Chanel Miller, the rape victim of Brock Turner: Know My Name by Chanel Miller. I think what I have learned from this, while fortunate to never have experienced something like this myself, it is so important to speak up for yourself. Tell the truth, and tell your story! There are always people out there that NEED to hear YOUR story because they can be going through the exact same thing as you. It is a comforting feeling to know there are people out there who have been where you have. Whether you talk to them, know them personally, or read their story— you hear and see they made it out of that dark place and that you can too.
Top three essentials: A good devotional, my chapstick, and coffee!
Hobby: I love running.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: 1. Read His word daily, in whatever fashion fits you; Bible, devotional, phone app, etc. 2. Be confident in your relationship and know He always comes through with promises better than you’d ever expect for yourself. 3. Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable in your faith.
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving! I’m always thankful for what I have in my life, every day! But also… who doesn’t love food?!
A goal you have? To get my nursing degree!
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: I don’t necessarily call this a tradition, but when my mom was a teenager, her aunt and uncle (my great aunt and uncle) bought a family beach house right on the water in the town I have grown up in. I mentioned before that every summer, we all as a family have shared the beach house. My mom has a brother who has two girls close in age to me and my brother. We have spent so many family birthdays, summer holidays, and big life moments celebrating down there. The house is still ours to this day, and my great aunt and uncle are still alive! Both 93 years old! It’s our favorite little place in the sun that we all get to share. It’s really sweet.
What does your morning routine consist of? I have never been a morning person. I need to wake up and be ready to interact with people on my own terms, haha. My schedule is all over the place seeing that I work in an emergency room. Typically, if I have work in the morning, I will wake up and shower before work and take my breakfast with me to go. I also normally grab a coffee on the way. If I don’t have work or I work later in the day, I love to sleep in. If I sleep in, I’m usually ready to go. I’ll wake up and work out or start whatever needs to be done that day.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Living your best life with God always at the center
Until next time, keep witnessing!