Lifestyle

The Less-Talked About Effects of Pregnancy

As we enter into week 34 of pregnancy, I can whole-heartedly say that it has been a journey of both awe and confusion. Pregnancy is truly remarkable… never before have I been so convinced that we have a perfect Creator who has designed our bodies to do something absolutely amazing. At the same time, I have been confused, grossed out, and plainly surprised at what making a baby can do to your body and emotions.

A large number of my friends are already mamas, so I’ve heard tons of stories and felt semi-knowledgable about pregnancy before actually getting pregnant. Even so, there have been quite a few surprises for me and I credit that to the fact that every pregnancy is super different and there are some topics that are just awkward to talk about.

SO, I wanted to share some of my surprises here, because if you are going through the same thing, I want you to know you aren’t alone! Plus, I want to remember these things down the road when pregnancy is a thing of the past.

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Some of these may be TMI, so read at your own risk! But here we go…

 

I didn’t feel connected to my baby until I felt him move.

I was a bag of mixed emotions my first trimester and struggled with a lot of fears of losing my baby. This created an emotional barrier between us, and I remember struggling to feel connected to him even after seeing him in our first sonogram. It wasn’t until I felt him move at around 17 weeks that I truly felt like a mama. I wasn’t expecting that!

Having a “healthy” pregnancy isn’t easy.

In the past, I had always told myself that I couldn’t wait to have a healthy pregnancy so that I could be the best mama for my little babe. I had every intention to workout the whole time, eat healthy, etc. This all sounded great until my food aversions kicked in and just the thought of vegetables and chicken made me want to gag. I had a lot of nausea my first trimester which made exercise one of the last things on my to-do list. Basically, I made up every excuse in the book to indulge in carbs and watch Netflix over being active. Things have gotten much better with time and as my aversions have gone away, but it’s still a daily battle!

All the discharge.

Before I did some research, I got freaked out by the amount of discharge that happens… down there… during pregnancy. At first I thought something was wrong with me, but after some research I learned this is totally normal and healthy. It’s not a fun side effect, but it’s super common and I’m thankful my body knows what it’s doing!

Battling negative body image.

I’ve always thought pregnant women are so beautiful, but I’ve learned that having that image of your own body while you’re gaining weight and seeing changes is a challenge. I believe what my body is doing is absolutely beautiful, but I don’t always feel that way when I look in the mirror. Praise God for a husband who tries to debunk these thoughts as much as possible!

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The bra situation.

One of the first side effects I saw were my boobs getting huge. In fact, that’s how one of my friends knew I was pregnant! haha. This has been frustrating for me because finding bras that aren’t super pricey but make you feel comfortable has been a pain in the butt. I still haven’t found one that I’m completely sold on, so if you have any suggestions for a larger-chested gal please let me know!

The time is flying by.

Nine months sounds like such a long time! I always figured the time would drag by, but it has flown. I can only imagine how fast it’ll go once he’s actually here!

Oh hey there constipation and hemorrhoids. 

I already struggle with constipation, so that has only been exemplified with everything else going on in that region. And as of 31 weeks, I have officially experienced my first hemorrhoids due to the extra pressure from said constipation and my uterus. I had no clue this happened! Apparently it’s going to get worse before it gets better, so that’s fun!

Brady bonding with his son.

I wasn’t sure how well Brady would be able to connect with our son since he’s not carrying him, but it’s been so cool to see the two of them bond. Brady loves talking to him and feeling him kick and prays for him often. I love it! I can tell our little guy recognizes his voice and will be active when he hears dad after a day when I’ve been at work. I don’t know how scientifically sound that is, but I like to think he’s saying hi to his dad. 🙂

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Daily congestion.

Literally since week 4, I’ve woken up every day with a super runny nose. It typically goes away throughout the day, but never ceases to be back the next morning!

The mom community.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the community we’ve gotten to experience throughout pregnancy. From mom friends who give me advice, tell me what I’m going to need, and convince me that I’m not going crazy to the community who has gone above and beyond to help us with physical needs, we have been blessed. It is so reassuring to know we aren’t in this alone and that help will always be right around the corner.

All the nerves. 

Here I am talking about literal nerves, haha. Around week 12 the top half of my left thigh went numb and I haven’t felt it since! It is so strange. That along with sciatic nerve pain and random pains in my abdomen have taught me so much about how everything in our body is connected! Most of the times I look up a new pain or weird feeling, it has to do with baby pushing on one nerve or another.

The female body is incredible.

Pregnancy has only grown my appreciation and awe for the Lord as our Creator. He literally thought of every detail when it comes to forming a human within a womb, and all I’ve had to do is live life and let it happen. I’ve been fascinated as I read what is developing each week… from my immune system decreasing in order for my body not to attack the baby to our little guy growing peach fuzz all over his body to keep him warm before fattening up… no single detail has gone unnoticed. Praise God!

 

Were you able to relate to any of these? Let me know! Or if you had a different unexpected side effect, I’d love to hear what it was. Overall, I’m so thankful to be experiencing this gift and it’s getting harder and harder to be patient for little man’s arrival. Only 6 more weeks!!!

 

In the Word, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Recipes

9 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Hey friends! I hope you all are enjoying falls so far. Football+cool weather+sweaters+hot drinks+boots+changing leaves… all of these things are some of my favorites ever. And along those lines, I wanted to share a few things I’ve been loving! I’ve been telling friends and family about them, so I thought I better share here too!

This Journal

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This has to go first because it has become one of my favorite parts of each day. Throughout my walk with the Lord I feel like I’ve tried so many different journals, studies, reading plans, etc. and this is by far my favorite! It was recommended to me in a season where my time with the Lord felt scatter-brained and I couldn’t focus well. This journal is beautiful and also helps guide you through your time in the Word in a way that helps you experience Scripture in a new way. I see myself using it for years to come! It’s so worth the price to me, but I’ve seen a 10% off code floating around Instagram so check for that!

These Pajamas

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Am I the only one out there who would do almost anything to find the coziest pajamas?! I’d seen these from multiple bloggers and finally asked for them for my birthday.

They. Are. Wonderful.

So incredibly soft, they come in lots of colors, and I feel like they are going to last forever because of the quality. I’ve also heard they are great for nursing and in the hospital after delivery. So expectant mamas, treat yo self! I do see them on sale from time to time, so keep an eye on them if the price scares you a bit!

This Quick Lunch 

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This might seem like a weird thing to add, but I’m all about finding super easy and healthy meals and these fit the bill. I’ve loved throwing one of these little packets into my lunchbox (haha, is there a classier name for lunchbox?) to eat with a salad. Easy protein? YES PLEASE. I’ve been trying to make healthier choices for my sweet baby boy and these have really helped! I’ve been getting them at Dillon’s but I’m sure every grocer has them!

These Scrunchies

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Ok guys, if you’re into the scrunchie trend then you need these in your life. This pack of 20 beautiful colors is only $12.99. They make any ponytail a little more feminine and you’ll definitely have a color to match any outfit. I’ve loved them as a PE teacher because I’m always looking for ways to look a little more girly at work!

These Headbands

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And while we’re on the subject of hair things, these headbands have become my new favorite. They are pretty wide so it’s easy to find different ways to wear them. There are so many cute designs and colors, and best yet, you can get them with Amazon Prime! They come from a small business which I always love supporting, but they are also the best priced, quality headbands I’ve found so far. Love them! Also, you can get 15% off until the end of October with the code FALL15.

This Cornbread Recipe

Another random add, but this recipe has become a family favorite for us. Growing up I never liked cornbread because it was always so dry. This recipe is incredibly moist and goes GREAT with a bowl of chili. It makes a large quantity so it’s also great for entertaining!

This Mascara

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Mascara is a daily staple for me and I’m so so thankful to have found this brand! I got a sample in an Ipsy bag last month and loved it instantly. It makes your lashes seem longer and thicker with just one coat. I don’t know how it does it! Once my sample ran out I tried going back to my old mascara and instantly missed this stuff. I’m usually super cheap when it comes to make-up, but this mascara seems worth it to me! I also love that the brand donates an item of make-up to a woman in a rough situation with your purchase. If you’re needing something new for your lashes try this out!

This Book 

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This was one of those books that was very hard to put down and I finished it in a weekend. This is kind of embarrassing but I refused to pick up another book for awhile because I was so sad it was over! I fell in love with the main character and all of her quirks. It’s well-written, has a beautiful story, and it keeps you guessing as you go. If you’re in need of a light, fun read, Eleanor Oliphant is your girl. Let me know if you want to borrow my copy!

This Cardigan

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Last but never least is this lovely chenille cardigan. I’m a sucker for chenille and the fact that it makes you feel like you’re wearing a blanket. I’ll take that every day! I love the oversized fit and so does my preggo belly. I was in need of a black cardigan so I went with that, but it was hard for me to walk away from both the blush and mustard colors. So pretty!

 

Alright, I hope something on this list called out to you! And I’d love to hear something you’ve been loving lately in the comments below. Hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Thanks for reading. 🙂

Lifestyle, Pregnancy

When We Found Out We Had a Family of Three

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now, but I’ve been having a hard time coming up with a sensitive way of doing it. It has been made so clear to me that pregnancy is a miracle. A miracle that Brady and I are so thankful to get to experience right now.

It has also been made clear to me that it is not a miracle everyone gets to experience or celebrate. Pregnancy can be a topic that brings people pain and grief, and I never want my words to be the cause or trigger of someone else’s sorrow. Miscarriage and infertility are such painful parts of our world. I believe our Heavenly Father is grieving with you if those two words have helped write your story, and I’m so sorry for the loss you’ve experienced.

If reading about pregnancy causes you pain, please skip over these posts as you heal. If anything I say is insensitive please let me know privately, as I would love to grow in loving my grieving friends well.

With that being said, I’m thankful to have a blog to record these life events to look back on later. This is an exciting time in our lives and we are trying not to take a moment of it for granted! Thank you for sharing in our excitement and joy as we prepare for this next season. We have felt so loved and supported!

Finding Out We Were Pregnant

Ever since we hit our 1 year marriage mark, I’ve been excited at the thought of adding a little one to our family. Brady took a little more convincing. 😉 We talked and prayed for a few months and then came to an agreeance that we were ready to start “trying.” (Saying that has always felt so weird to me… it’s something so out of our control!)

A few weeks later, we were driving home after celebrating Brady’s mom for Mother’s Day. I knew I’d be taking a pregnancy test the next morning and we talked about how unlikely it would be for it to be positive. Basically, we prepared ourselves for disappointment and for the chances that we’d be “trying” again this next month.

I woke up and got straight out of bed the next morning. I had bought a few cheap tests to use first, and then my sister-in-law had given me a couple of nice ones that I saved for later. I took the test and started getting ready for the day, constantly preparing myself for it to be negative. After I checked it a few minutes later I was SHOCKED to see the + sign! I instantly starting bawling, so loud that it woke Brady up. (haha!) He came out of our room, I told him we were pregnant, and then we hugged as I continued to cry in disbelief.

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I took a nicer test a few hours later, just to be sure, and it still said positive! It was such a crazy day of disbelief, thankfulness, and joy. 🙂

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Telling our Families 

Once I got done teaching that day I rushed over to Target to buy a onesie to use to tell our families. We went over to Travis and Nichole’s house first, letting them know they had a new niece or nephew on the way. They’ve been praying for us, talking with us, and were so excited about the possibility of our family growing. It was lots of fun to celebrate with them! 🙂

Thankfully, we were heading to meet my parents and sister and brother-in-law for dinner that night to celebrate Mother’s Day. At the bottom of my mom’s present I put the book titled “How to Babysit a Grandma” on top of the onesie. Once my mom got to the book and read the title, all she could keep saying was “No, NO, NO!” before she started hugging and crying. My parents were pretty pumped to hear about their first grandchild! It was so much fun to celebrate with my family and Brady got it all on video. 🙂

Next up was Brady’s family! We decided to drive up to Junction City to surprise them that next weekend. We showed up at Brady’s parents house, waited for them to get home, and then passed them baby bottles full of Dr. Pepper. They were so excited to hear about their 5th grandchild and we got to celebrate with them for the rest of the weekend! We also have this surprise on video which I’m so thankful for!

Last but not least, we headed to Brady’s sister’s house to let them in on the surprise which was followed by a FaceTime call to his sister Teresa. This little babe has the best aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents waiting on him!

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Telling Everyone Else

Over the next few weeks we made phone calls and visits to let more people know our good news and was able to share it with our church family on a Sunday morning. At about 16 weeks we shared the news via social media and now the whole world knows. 😉 We feel incredibly blessed to have so many excited for us. God has blessed us with an incredible community! I’m so thankful we won’t have to do this parenting thing alone. 🙂

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Alright… your turn! How did you share your good news with those you love?!

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.”

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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. 🙂