In the Word, Lifestyle

When Love Isn’t All That Much Fun

What do softball and turtles have in common you might wonder? Let me tell ya…

It was a hot summer day out at the ball fields in my hometown. I was more of a “social player”… the type of athlete who cared more about being on the team her friends were on rather than the actual game itself because FOMO. You know, the kind of player coaches dreamed about. Anyways, I was up to bat, and with one of the pitches my bat made contact with the ball and made that sweet sound that meant I got to run to first base. I don’t remember where the ball went or how many bases I got to run, but I do remember hearing one of my teammates dad’s in the bleachers. As I ran down the line, he not-so-discreetly commented that “a turtle could run the bases faster than her!”

I never prided myself on being a fast runner, but man, those words hurt. Any confidence I had in my softball skills was damaged after that, and that comment has literally stayed with me for over 14 years. I can laugh about it now, but I also still remember how badly those words hurt and how much I detested that father from then on.

Maybe you weren’t called a turtle in your middle school years, but there’s no doubt that you’ve also been hurt in your life. We’ve all encountered people who make it really hard to like them, let alone love them. My example was silly, but I know there are so many of us who have been deeply hurt by other’s actions or words, or situations we’ve had to go through because of someone else’s decisions. Right now, who is hard to love in your life? When I look back at every season of my life, there is always a person or two who I’ve struggled liking or getting along with. And the humbling thing is, I know I’ve been hard to love for many people in my lifetime.

Sooo why am I writing a post about hurt and love?

Because right now in my life, God is telling me that loving people is something I need to get better at, and this past week He rocked my world with conviction on the topic.

I’ve been journeying through the book of John with a couple of friends and a few days ago I opened up to John 13. If you grew up in church you’ve most likely heard the story about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. When I read it this morning, something stood out to me that never has before.

Jesus is with his 12 best friends, celebrating the biggest Jewish festival, about to eat dinner together. He knows that his time on earth is coming to an end and that these moments will be some of his last before he’s arrested and later crucified. He also knows that one of his closest disciples, Judas, is the one who is going to betray him in the coming hours.

Jesus continues to blow the disciples’ minds by telling them that he is going to wash their feet before they eat dinner. Washing dusty, dirty feet was a chore usually left for the servants, yet Jesus wanted to teach these men something that could change the world.

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord– and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.”

John 13:12-15

In his last moments, Jesus wanted these men to know how important it was for them to serve one another. He served them by cleaning their nasty feet as an example of what they were to do for others.

Now here is what stood out to me today that I’ve never thought about before. Sure, these guys had been with Jesus almost constantly over the past 3 years and he knew them super well. They were buddies. But among those 12 men was the man that was about to betray Jesus. There was also a man who was about to deny Jesus. And despite knowing these hurtful truths, Jesus did not leave them out of the blessed foot washing.

If you’ve been betrayed before, you can imagine how hard this would’ve been.

These men didn’t deserve to be served by Jesus, but it didn’t matter.

Jesus still loved them. 

Crazy, right?!

A little later, Jesus went on to say “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (vs. 34-35)

In his last moments, Jesus wanted to make sure that these guys understood that they were meant to serve and love others. 

As I was reading this, the Lord showed me that I do not get to choose who I want to serve and who I want to love. I, as a follower of Jesus, am meant to serve and love EVERYONE. That means if I ever see the turtle-comment dad again, I’m meant to love him. When I hear about abuse or neglect or the many ways this world is not fair, I am to respond in love and service. This doesn’t mean I’m supposed to agree with sin or just accept the world for what it is, it means that I am to remember that I am also the worst of sinners, completely unworthy of the love I have been shown by my Heavenly Father.

Is loving people always easy? HECK NO. It’s one of the hardest things we are called to do. Yet, in doing so, we are known as the disciples of Jesus. When we love the unlovable, we get to give others a glimpse of their Creator who loves them beyond comprehension. Thankfully, we aren’t called to do this on our own, and the Holy Spirit is always ready to help us.

Just as I’ve been challenged today, I’d love to challenge you. Who in your life are you struggling to love? Who in your life do you need to forgive? Who in your life needs to experience the love of Jesus?

I know there is someone who comes to mind for you. Let’s join forces and strive to spread the love of Jesus in one relationship at a time. Ask Jesus for guidance and wisdom and strength, because he knows that he’s calling us to something hard and beyond ourselves.

Remember that YOU are loved. How can you spread that today?

Lifestyle

That Time I Compared Myself to My Sister-in-Law

My sister-in-law and I have the exact same name.

Seriously, with one little letter difference, we are both Nic(h)ole Ann Roberts.

We married brothers (she and Travis actually set Brady and I up), we are planting a church together, and we both live on Fern Street. Our mail has gotten switched multiple times, people usually can’t tell which one of us they’re emailing, and one time our flight tickets got mixed up. We used to do health coaching together and now we are pastor’s wives together. Basically, we kind of have the same life, besides our occupations and the fact that she has three kids.

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Nichole is one of my favorite people on the planet and I often thank God that I get to be her sister. It’s seriously a dream come true because she is one of the best listeners and advice givers EVER and I know I will laugh a ton whenever I’m around her. She’s an incredible wife and mother and the fact that I’ll always have her example to look up to is wonderful!

Our husbands have a great relationship and they both dreamed of getting to do ministry together someday. When Travis and Nichole asked us to help them plant a church, we were so excited to be able to do life with them and live close to our nieces and future nephew. We went through a lot of assessment and training, and we always heard the same thing. “We think you guys can do this, but it could be tricky working with your family.” We prayed about this and dug deep, and in the end we decided that with a few precautions set in place, this is what God was asking our two families to do.

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So lets fast forward a few months. In August of 2017 I went on staff with our church as the administrator. Around this time Nichole was able to step away from her job to be a stay-at-home mama. The church then launched in October and we’ve truly loved this journey! Our church family is growing, we are learning how to serve our community, and we are seeing people come to know the Lord better. It’s an honor to be doing this work! But with all good things from God, Satan is right there trying to discourage us and take us off course.

I had been feeling this attack especially in my relationship with Nichole. There have been a couple of weeks where I can’t seem to help but compare myself to her. Every good thing I saw in her turned into comparison and thoughts of not being good enough. These thoughts stemmed from various things, like the great wife she is, or the ways God uses her in other people’s lives, and even from her deep wisdom. Instead of seeing God work through Nichole, I chose to focus on jealousy and comparison.

There was one Sunday morning when it got especially bad. Our church service was about to start and I noticed Nichole talking to a new visitor, and my thoughts instantly went to a place of comparison. Was I not fun to talk to? Does she like Nichole more than me? Nichole is so much better at relating to people! These thoughts consumed me as the service started. Instead of rejoicing in God using Nichole to love this new person, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much better she was than me. During one of the worship songs, I had to stop, close my eyes, and just ask God to take these thoughts away. I felt sick to my stomach and hated that Satan was invading our Sunday service in this way.

A few days later, Nichole, myself, and a few of our friends met at a coffee shop. We ended up going around and shared how life was going and what we were struggling with. When it was my turn, I ended up admitting to my struggle with comparison. The words kind of just fell out of my mouth and Nichole looked at me with a shocked expression.

While all of this was going on in my heart, Satan was attacking Nichole in the exact same way. She was also struggling with comparison and it became very evident to us that the enemy was trying to discourage us and put a strain on our relationship.

A couple of days later we were able to meet up again and talk through it all in more detail. It got to the point where we were laughing about all of the crazy things we were believing! It was a gift to our friendship and to our families that this conversation happened. We were able to call out the lies we had been believing and we saw how sneaky satan can be. I came away from that conversation being incredibly grateful for Nichole… for her role in my life and in our community. A few months have gone by now, and I’m still so thankful for that transparent conversation we got to have!

Ladies, I know we aren’t the only two who deal with comparison. It’s a trap satan loves to use against us as women! My challenge for us is to face the lies we come to believe and replace them with Truth.

Here is what has helped me:

  1. Take Your Thoughts Captive. Do my thoughts align with Scripture? Are my thoughts about myself true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and worthy of praise? (Philippians 4:8) If not, pray against the enemy and ask our Heavenly Father to help your thoughts transform.
  2. Confide and Confess. I believe the enemy loves it when we keep our struggles inside for no one to see. Instead, bring your struggle out into the light. Who could you confess your comparison struggle to? Who do you trust to call out the lies in your life and encourage you to walk in Truth? If you can talk to the person you’ve been comparing yourself to, all the better! It may be hard, but it’s so worth it.
  3. Grow in Thankfulness. This one is from Nichole! She told me that every time she started to compare herself to me, she would start praying and thanking God for me instead. I thought this was such a beautiful picture of love and grace, and she said it helped her get past the thoughts of comparison.

If you have any tips you’d like to share please put them in the comments below! You are wonderful just as you are, and God is using YOU in big ways. Let’s work on believing it.

Much Love ❤

Nicole

 

 

Lifestyle

AFTER

On this rainy Saturday afternoon, I am so grateful to be writing the last post in this vulnerability series. This post will describe what my life has looked like since I decided to follow Christ. It’s been the craziest and most fulfilling time of my life, and knowing that it will continue for the rest of my time on earth is SO exciting.

If you’re new, I’d love for you to start at the beginning of this series to hear the full story!

#1- The “V” Word

#2- BEFORE

#3- DURING


After that night in the car, the night Jesus told me He still loved me, I realized that my life was going to look different from then on. The Lord had already set me up with an incredible community, and those college friends truly made the biggest impact in showing me how to follow Jesus. I started to find value in going to church again, I loved digging into my Bible, and I started to journal my prayers on a daily basis. I was hungry to know God better. To learn more about who He was and to learn how to be more like Him.

My sin habits didn’t go away automatically, as awesome as that would have been. I still struggled with wanting attention from guys and finding my worth through how men saw me. Until I dated my husband, I still struggled with having physical boundaries in my relationships. Guys, that’s embarrassing to admit, but I want to be honest. I want to get the point across that when you decide to follow Jesus, all of the temptations of the world do not suddenly melt away. If anything, they get stronger as you become closer with Jesus.

I struggle with pride daily. I struggle with comparing myself to people on Instagram or the girl I pass at the coffee shop or my best friend. Sometimes I find my worth through the clothes I wear, my current weight, and how much money is in our bank account. I struggle to see and love everyone as Jesus does. I get angry or annoyed easily and have a temper. I can get so caught up in things that don’t matter that I forget about who I am, because of Jesus, and I forget my purpose here on earth.

The incredible thing about Jesus and grace is that the sins I just mentioned do not define me.

Sin is not the highlight of my story anymore.

Jesus is.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10

The new goal of my life is to worship the God who created me. I can worship Him through the way I spend my time. Through the way I treat other people. Through the way I use my words and gifts and abilities. I never do it perfectly, but if I can live my life to give glory to the Lord then I am fulfilling my purpose.

Guys, following Jesus is so crazy and so fun. I never could have imagined the past 10 years of my life and the places He’s taken me. Everyone’s journey looks so different and the whole purpose is that we GO and DO what Jesus asks us to go and do. For me, it started with attending a discipleship training program for a summer. The next summer meant 6 weeks in India, learning to love a new culture and people group. This inspired spending a couple of years in the Philippines after college, where I got to experience leaning on Jesus for things like going to the grocery store, communicating, and loving my Filipino brothers and sisters. When Jesus called me back to Kansas, I started to learn what it looks like to do ministry at home in the US. This eventually led me to meeting my husband and then helping start our beloved church.

Following Jesus consists of big things with a ton of little things in-between. Following Jesus is an attitude you have to wake up with. It’s constantly learning how to hear His voice and how to say no to temptations. It’s all about falling on your butt and learning how to get back up again. It’s accepting grace and extending grace. It is a journey of getting to know God better and then turning around and asking Him to guide your life.

This journey is NOT easy. In fact, Jesus promises us in the Bible that we are going to have trials. But what I keep finding is that the trials are what draw me closer to my Savior. The trials are the times where I see Him come through in ways that seemed impossible before. I’m so thankful that this journey isn’t a walk in the park, because if it was, I don’t think we’d understand who God is nearly as well.

If you also know Jesus, take some time to think about the many ways He has led you throughout your life. I pray you are encouraged as you remember His faithfulness! If you haven’t given your life to Jesus and are feeling a tug in that direction, I strongly urge you to talk to someone you trust or reach out to me. I would love to chat with you more!

I can’t thank you all enough for taking time to read about my story. I pray it encourages you to share your story with someone who may need to hear it.

Vulnerability breeds vulnerability.

Let’s stop being afraid to be the one who goes first.

Much Love,

Nicole

Lifestyle

DURING

Hey friends! I hope you’re having a great week! Spring is kind-of (?) coming out around here, so that’s exciting. I’m a first-time gardener, and my budding tulips are making me super happy!

I’m excited about this third post in my Vulnerability series, because it’s the part of the story that gives me teary-eyes on the regular. If you’re new, I’d love for you to start from the beginning of the series so you get the full account of God’s goodness in my past.

Part 1- The “V” Word

Part 2- BEFORE

Part 2 ended with myself in a pretty dark, desperate time of my life. The time of my life where I hit rock bottom. Praise God that wasn’t the end!


So my first semester of college was ending, and I was deeply confused by the person I had turned into. I was having fun, but I wasn’t fulfilled. I felt shame for my new lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to change anything.

ENTER: Jesus

Before Christmas break I learned that my roommate and best college friend would be transferring to a different school. This left me with a lot of unknowns as I drove home for break, but I don’t remember being completely torn up about the situation. Looking back, I can see God using this break at home as a time of refreshment. I didn’t tell my family about my new lifestyle, but being away from my new college environment was a healthy break that I needed. God knew I needed some time to be around my previous friends and my family who loved me best. I was still apprehensive to talk to God and was constantly struggling with guilt and shame, but God was so good to take me home to my roots for a good month.

When I headed back up to K-State in January I still didn’t have a roommate and had no clue what this semester was going to look like socially. One day I was in my room, unpacking with the door open to the hallway. A couple of girls that lived a few doors down stopped by to say hi and let me know that I could always come hangout with them if I ever wanted to. Little did I know these girls would become some of my best friends, and I was going to practically live in their room for the rest of the semester.

Hannah and Alyssa were so sweet to invite me into their lives, and because of that brave act, I got to see up close what it looked like to follow Jesus on a day-to-day basis. These girls loved the Lord, and they loved Him every single moment of their lives. Not just on Sundays or at church camp, but in every moment. They made studying God’s Word a priority and they loved me so incredibly well. They ended up introducing me to an amazing group of girls. These girls were my sisters throughout college and I can’t imagine those next few years without them!

So back to Hannah and Alyssa. I loved spending time with them and I learned so much from them, but shame and guilt were still deep in my heart. I couldn’t let go of the things I had done. I couldn’t let go of the feeling that God was mad at me or disappointed in who I was. Why would He want to talk to me? Why would He want me to live for Him? I had really messed up.

During this time of life I also became best friends with two girls in my sorority, Lauren and Sarah. These ladies also loved Jesus and showed me what it looked like to follow Him. One late night, we were driving to a sorority event that was out of town, and Lauren and Sarah were in the front of the car talking about the goodness of God. I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember sitting in the back, listening to every word but keeping my own mouth shut.

At some point on that car ride, I heard Jesus say to me “Nicole, I still love you. I have always loved you.”

Jesus, the man who knew every detail of my life, made it a point to let me know He still loved me.

He still loved me, the girl who had completely rejected him for months on end.

The girl who had lived for herself and for pleasing those around her.

The girl who had been wearing guilt around like a second skin.

This is the girl whom He loved.

This was the moment where I finally understood what grace was. Yes, I knew that Jesus had died on a cross for my sins, but I finally understood how crappy and disgusting my sins were. I finally understood how much Jesus carried to the cross for ME. He knew the sins I would commit, and He died for me anyway.

I finally understood how valuable I was to my Creator. 

I am so thankful for the way Jesus heavily pursued me that second semester of college. His fingerprints are in all the little details from the friends who left to the sorority I pledged to the hallway I lived on. He knew exactly what I needed and drew me closer and closer to His heart.

PRAISE GOD for grace and new life. I will never fully understand the true depth of grace, but I’m so thankful for the slice of it I’ve been able to experience.

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Alyssa, myself, and Hannah in their dorm room. 🙂
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Me, Sarah, and Lauren on one of our many adventures. 🙂

As you read this part of my story, did it bring back memories of God’s goodness in your own life? All of our stories are beautiful, no matter how simple or complicated they may seem. I’d love to hear how you came to understand grace! Comment below or shoot me an email at nicoleann.nw@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading Part 3 of my story, and I can’t wait to come back and share what life looks like now as a follower of Jesus. 🙂

Lifestyle

BEFORE

I did not foresee these posts being so far apart, but I’m excited to continue in this small series on the “v” word: vulnerability. If you’d like to catch up, start here!

So we’ve discussed how hard and uncomfortable vulnerability is, but we’ve also talked about why it’s so beautiful and important in the church. My hope and prayer is that you’ve been challenged in the area of vulnerability just like I have! I’m excited to share more of my story with you, and my deepest hope is that you’ll see how GOOD and MIGHTY and LOVING Jesus Christ is because of the work He has done in my life. The remainder of this series will be broken into 3 parts:

BEFORE- what my life was like before I followed Jesus

DURING- how God changed me

AFTER- what life now looks like as a follower of Jesus

This is a super easy way to share our stories with one another. If you’d like to follow this template for your own life, please do!

Alright friends, let’s do this!


I was born and raised in a small suburb of Wichita, Kansas. My sister and I were raised in a Christian home and we loved going to church multiple times a week. All of my best friends were there, so I never minded being whisked away every Sunday and Wednesday for services and events.

When I was 7, one of my friends decided to get baptized. I thought taking communion looked pretty cool, so I asked my parents if I could get baptized too. My children’s pastor came to our house, walked me through the gospel, and then my dad baptized me a few weeks later in front of friends and family. I believe I loved Jesus, but there’s only so much a 7 year old can understand about what it means to FOLLOW Jesus.

My middle and high school years were full of attempts at making friends, fitting in, and for lack of better words, being cool. I would do or say just about anything to gain the approval of others. I was finding my worth in the way other people saw me. I found my value in how popular I thought I was, how many friends I had, and how cool my clothes were. As you can imagine, it was a constant, uphill battle to feel like I was enough.

I still spent a lot of time at church and with church friends, and I loved going to camp over the summer or any other special event that was on the youth group calendar. I’ve looked back on journals and know that I had “spiritual highs” after these trips and events. I would feel closer to God, promising Him that I was going to do a better job of being a good Christian, only to go back to my old ways a week or two later.

When I look back at high school, my stomach usually turns a little because of the way I lived my life. I wasn’t a great friend, I was an awful big sister to Auna, and my parents and I very rarely got along. I also loved getting attention from boys, which really took a toll on how I valued myself throughout high school.

I had my first unhealthy “relationship” my freshman year, and it set the stage for me as to what I thought was normal. I felt valued because a boy thought I was pretty and wanted to spend time with me. I felt valued when he chose me over other girls who wanted his attention. I thought I needed to go beyond any physical boundaries I previously had for myself in order to maintain his affection. After that relationship ended I was hurt and confused. I had given a lot of myself away–physically and emotionally– and all of a sudden it wasn’t worth anything.  I wish I could give my 14 year old self a hug and let her know she wasn’t going to find fulfillment through boys… but instead I kept seeking for purpose through the way guys viewed me.

My sophomore year also started with a boyfriend. This one was from church though, so in my eyes, it was wonderful and fun and I loved having a boy care about me. I’ve blocked a lot of the details of this relationship from my memory, but I do know that after about a year, this relationship also became very unhealthy. To make a long story short, another girl got involved, and for the next 2 and a half years, until I was a freshman in college, my life was consumed with “winning” my boyfriend. I was so competitive that I used sex, manipulation, sneaking around, and so many other playing pieces in order to win the guy. I was truly consumed with winning, no matter what it took, and I was blinded from what I knew was right.

The devil LOVES to turn our hearts to anything in this world besides God. For me it was a boy (amidst other things) that kept me completely distracted from living my life for Jesus. Even though Jesus was always still there, my life was going down the road of pain, comparison, regret, and shame.  I wish I could say that we broke up and I came to my senses, but this isn’t the end to my “before” story.

In 2008 I graduated from high school and headed up to Manhattan to attend Kansas State University. I was finally free, finally away from my parent’s strict rules, and in a place where I could really create myself and be who I wanted to be. FREEDOM. I took full advantage and went all in.

I made new friends who loved to party. This meant that I now loved to party. I didn’t have friends who went to church. This meant that I also no longer went to church. Having late night fun was way more important to me than doing well in my classes. I mean, who needed to know about earth formations anyway? (Ross Geller would disagree.) I took my first semester of college to try new things, party hard, have fun with my roommates and sorority sisters, flirt with boys, get the worst grades of my life, gain quite a bit of weight, and to abandon any relationship that I had with God.

This, my friends, was my rock bottom. I was trying to figure out who I was and I totally lost myself in the process. I had so much guilt. SO MUCH. I remember feeling so ashamed of the way I was living that I would refuse to acknowledge God in my thoughts or through prayer. It was clear to me that the way I was living was wrong, but I wasn’t sure how to change anything or get away from this lifestyle. I felt so incredibly stuck.


Thank you so much for taking time to read the first part of my story! This obviously isn’t a fun place to stop, but God is about to cover this story in crazy LOVE and GRACE. I can’t wait to share the rest with you!

 

Lifestyle

The “V” Word

It’s something that makes you feel awkward and uneasy. The mention of it might make you fidget in your seat with anxiety. It brings up fear and doubt and instantly makes you second guess yourself. It’s one of those things we like to hide from. To avoid. Some of us even like to run from it because it is just. that. uncomfortable.

Vulnerability.

This word has been one that I’ve enjoyed ignoring for most of my years. I’ve been in so many different small groups in various stages of life, but even in that context of being surrounded by other like-minded women, I struggle to open up and truly share who I am, what I struggle with, and how I see God working through it all. Anyone else with me?

For me, vulnerability has typically been a far-off idea that sounds great and everything, but it doesn’t seem right in my life for reasons x, y, or z. I get that community is important and all, but will these people still like me when they know the truth? Will I be looked down on when I share my struggles? Will anyone be able to relate to me, or will I feel alone? 

From what I’ve heard from others, I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with these thoughts and temptations to just keep my mouth shut. I mean keeping things about our lives private doesn’t seem like the worst thing ever, right?

But friends, when we listen to these excuses, we are missing out on one of the greatest gifts God has given us.

God sees every detail of our lives, and even though He knows the nitty gritty, He chooses to love us, fight for us, and lavish us with grace. He knows this world is dark and ugly, and He knows that we are in an earthly battle with satan. Jesus has stepped foot on this earth. He has seen the brokenness and disorder. He has been tempted by the evil one. He has experienced pain and grief and trouble. Jesus looked our struggle and sin in the face, carried it with Him to the grave, and made a way for us to spend eternity in His holy presence by overcoming death.

And so yes, God knew we would struggle as we strive to live for Him. He knew we’d struggle, but He doesn’t want us to struggle alone.

Because of His crazy love, He gave us one another, the church, so that we can share life together and be a family. If you are familiar with the book of Acts in the Bible, you have probably read the words that explain what the first church, the first community of believers in Jesus, looked like.

“They all were continually united in prayer…” 1:14

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” 2:42

“Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.” 2:44

“Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” 2:46-47

Are these verses about the first church beautiful or what?! This church was built on faith, prayer, and the Holy Spirit. This church was together constantly, sharing in life, praising God for all He was doing, and their numbers were growing day by day.

So, back to the “V” word. Where does vulnerability fit in with all of this?

God’s design for His people is to be in community with one another, sharing life and food time together. He doesn’t want us doing life alone. That is not His design! As we see in Acts 2:47, beautiful things happen when we love Jesus and share our lives with others. People experience grace and love when they experience community. We get glimpses of heaven when we choose to do life with one another.

If we truly want to share real, true life with one another, we must be vulnerable. We must let others know where we are struggling, the hurt we may be going through, or the sin we need help praying against. We must let others in. We must let others see what God is doing in our lives so that He can get the glory He deserves. 

Satan hates vulnerability. He will fill our minds with doubt and excuses all day long because he knows vulnerability is powerful in God’s church. He doesn’t want it. He wants to keep us quiet, feeling like we’re alone. He doesn’t want people to know what God is up to. He’s not going to make this easy for us.

So, with all of this, I have been challenged lately to be a voice for vulnerability. I’ve been inspired by one of my favorite podcasters, Jamie Ivey, and her new book, If You Only Knew. (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) I want to be vulnerable with the hope that my vulnerability will spur on the same action for someone else. I’m going to go first, hoping that it makes this step less scary for whoever is next.

Over my next few posts I will be sharing more about my life, the struggles I have dealt with, and the ways God has OVERCOME the darkness in my life. As I take these steps, I would be honored if you took this challenge with me and shared deeply about your life with someone who loves you.

If you’d like prayer in this journey please comment below or send me an email at nicoleann.nw@gmail.com. I would love love love to walk this with you!

Let’s do this.

Lifestyle

Welcome Home

Who doesn’t love scrolling through Pinterest, looking at picture-perfect bathrooms or kitchens or bedrooms, and dreaming up your dream home?!

I definitely fall in this category! I love taking a look into different decorating styles and then pretending I’m Joanna Gaines as I try and incorporate them into my own home. I have a house tour coming at you, but it may not be what you typically see as you scroll Instagram and Pinterest!

Brady and I bought our first house and moved in on August 28th, 2016. We were so incredibly blessed to move into a flip house that was painted exactly as we would’ve wanted it. Because of this, we got to move in right away and start making this little house into the first Roberts home!

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We prayed and prayed about where God wanted us to be, and as we made offers and went through the process of closing on this baby it became so clear to us that this is where we were meant to be. We are minutes away from where our church meets, and smack dab in the middle of our ministry zone. We love where we are, who we get to host, who we are neighbors to, and the plans God has for this home and our family.

As I share a tour with you, I want you to see this structure as a home and not as a Pinterest-worthy house. I was so tempted to go through, deep clean, and clean up every nook and cranny before taking these pictures. But then I thought… ummm our house never looks like that.

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The reason why I love these spaces so much is because of the life we get to live in them. So come, take a tour, and enjoy the space God is allowing Brady and I to live in!

The Living Room

Why I love this space: Brady and I spend the majority of our time in here and it’s the first thing you see when you step inside the front door. I love this space so much because it’s the place people gather for our weekly huddles. It’s where we sit and chat with our friends who come over for dinner. It’s where we have dance parties with our little nieces. It’s where I spend time with Jesus in the mornings. Basically, it’s where we do the most life and we love it.

The Kitchen

Why I love this space: The kitchen has been our trickiest area. It’s a small, awkward space, but our recent breakfast nook purchase has made all the difference! I love to cook a good meal in here! I also love this space because it’s where Brady spends time with Jesus in the mornings, it’s where the coffee is made, and the sun never stops streaming through those windows.

The Office

Why I love this space: This room is sunny and has a great closet. It’s always refreshing to step in this room! It has our “culture wall”, representing our love for travel and the nations. It also serves partly as a church office, which right now represents where we are at in church planting. The cluttered corner is temporary, so I’m trying to enjoy it and the stage of our journey it represents.

The Bathrooms

Why I love this space: It seems weird to feature bathrooms, haha, but they are obviously super important! I love that we found a house with more than one (very rare for this area) and they have been beautifully redone. I love a nice, relaxing bath, and having a pretty tub makes it even better!

The Mudroom

Why I love this space: When we started looking for a house, I never imagined we would find one with a bonus mud room! It holds an extra bathroom (another bonus!), a sink area, and a perfect laundry space. These things seem simple, but Brady and I lived without a washer and dryer for the first 9 months of marriage, so having one in our home feels like an extra huge blessing.

The Bedroom

Why I love this space: Our bedroom is cozy and simple, right off the mudroom. I love that it’s homey, that Brady is cool with decorative pillows, and that it holds special pieces from our wedding day. We love snuggling into a cozy bed after a long day, and this space has been perfect for that.

The Junk Room

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Why I love this space: Guys, I can’t believe I’m putting up a picture of this, lol. So basically, once we bought a home, my parents had me take ALL of my stuff that was still stored at their house. I was picturing a few boxes when we went to pick it up, but somehow it was this huge amount of mess. All of my books, crafting supplies, college notebooks and projects… all waiting for me to sift through and sort into donation and trash piles. The door to this room is almost always closed. Out of sight, out of mind, right?! Basically, I’ve deemed this as my spring break project and will tackle it soon! I’m excited to have it all out of here though, because we would love this to be a guest room for our friends and family! Although it isn’t much yet, I love this space because it will allow us to host more and it’s such a bonus to have a 3rd bedroom.

Outside

Why I love this space: The front porch. I love this trend from the 1920s and it’s such a dream to sit out here when the weather is beautiful! That porch swing was a surprise birthday gift from my parents and is literally one of my favorite things ever. Our backyard is more than we could have asked for as well! We have a great little patio area, a garage and shed, and plenty of room to host friends around our gifted fire pit. I can’t wait to use this space more as the weather warms up! I have plans to make it pretty with patio lights and maybe some furniture someday!

Thanks for taking a tour of our home! Our homes are beautiful because of the life we get to do in them. The memories that are made. The stories that are shared. The relaxing that is done. They are beautiful because they show God’s provision and help tell about the journey He has each of us on. Now you just need to come over for a cup of coffee! Any takers?!

I’d love to hear… what is your favorite space in your home?!