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Digging for Water

  When I was a little girl, I would often go visit my grandparents on the weekend. While there, I had the privilege of drinking fresh well water.  Now, I don't know about you, but I loved the natural flavor that came from well water. I loved the fact that there were no added chemicals to clean it or enhance it. It was just good, pure, untainted, drinking water.  From the time I was a little girl, I became a bit of a water snob. Unless it is well water, I hate drinking from the tap. I can smell the chlorine (even though it has been filtered out) when I turn on the sink in a city. City water just does not taste as pure--as fresh. It is tainted. I have always preferred drinking from the well.  But most people don't have wells on their property nowadays. Why? Well, because they require work to install. In order for a well to produce good drinking water, someone has to dig deep into the ground. They can't just dig until they hit mud either, they have to continue to dig until inc
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Privileged

People get very responsive when they hear someone speaking about Privilege. They think that the word “privilege” means that there is an implication that the life of the privileged person was not hard—but that is not the case at all. As a former foster child, I want to share with you how many people have experienced privilege that I will never know. When I was a little girl, my siblings and I experienced high levels of neglect and abuse. My baby sister was hospitalized a couple of times due to malnutrition, I experienced physical abuse at the hands of my older brother (and at one point when I was seven was cornered and strangled by him), and my other sister—who was only three years older than me—had to grow up far too fast and be “mom” to my younger sister and me… because our biological mom was mentally absent. My younger sister, although she does not remember most of what we experienced with our biological mother, experienced lasting effects from her lack of care. For years follo

Cancel Culture: The Symptom of a Sin Infection

This week, my social media pages have been bombarded with posts about something called the "Cancel Culture"--or a cultural movement of removing anything and everything that said cancel culture finds offensive. I, personally, am exhausted by all of these posts and declarations of "freedom of speech"--not because I do not agree with that sentiment. I definitely believe that, as our constitution has already declared, we do have the freedom to express ourselves in ways that may or may not be offensive to another person (after all, we cannot make everyone happy and even a heart-felt encouraging sentiment can be viewed as offensive to some people).  But what exhausts me is the refusal to recognize or even consider the possibility that there is something deeper at work. Consider for a moment the possibility that this desire to cancel offensive things is actually the symptom of a larger illness--one that society refuses to treat or even acknowledge as a real problem.  Let u

On the Move!

The   Spirit is moving Things are happening And people are getting antsy and restless.   But you know what? The Spirit is moving.   How do I know this? Because I see God working all around me.   People, we are living in some uncertain times right now, but I am overwhelmed. Not with fear. Not with anxiety. I am overwhelmed with the power of God I can see moving in the lives of the people around me. And I am excited! God is moving—his spirit is moving—and I am overwhelmed because I just want to know what it is doing. God, what are you doing? But I am excited! This past year has been insane. I have never been one to consider myself a “prayer warrior” yet I have woken myself up from a dead sleep with hands raised and prayers on my mouth. I am not one to say I have a prophetic voice (really!—and I am very skeptical of people who do claim to have one…I don’t doubt God’s ability to call prophets, I just am extremely skeptical of people who claim the title of prophe

Standardized Testing

Standardized testing--we all know about that. We all have taken part in the testing process and most of us know the outcome and how our scores affect our schools.  But, for those of you who don't know, our scores on standardized tests end up affecting funding for our schools. If the majority of our fellow students did well on the test, it meant better funding for our schools--this means more computers, updated textbooks, even higher salaries for our teachers. But if the majority of our classmates did poorly on the tests, the schools did not receive as much funding and, as a result, we didn't benefit by receiving newer and better equipment. Essentially, our poor scores reflected on our schools--and let's face it, people don't want to throw money at any company or organization that isn't using their resources to perform better. So, if the schools aren't going to teach the material that the state requires, the state isn't going to give them more money. It

"Whom Shall I Send?"

When I was eight years old, I experienced God speak to me for the very first time. I remember, I was listening to my Bible on audiocassette and I felt the pull of God on my life strongly. I ran to my [now] adoptive mother and excitedly told her, “Mommy, God wants me to be a pastor when I grow up!” I distinctly remember her response because it was that response that drove the next eighteen years of my life. She smiled, and said, “Oh honey—” And you know the “Oh honey” that she said. It was the “Oh honey” that was saying, “There is no chance that you will ever live up to that dream—you are not capable of it.” But she continued. “Nicole, you can’t be a pastor. You’re a girl, and only men are allowed to be pastors. A girl pastor is just not done. The Bible even says so. It says that women must be silent in the church.” I never wanted to go against the Word of God, so I suppressed the call that I felt. For eighteen years, I kept reminding myself that God could not use me. God called men

Listening Through the Tantrum

I was a foster child. At seven-years-old, I was removed very suddenly from my birth family and placed in the home of a perfect stranger. Although my two sisters were placed in foster care as well, only one of them was placed in the same home as me. So, at seven-years-old, I had been ripped from my mom, my brothers, and two of my sisters. But as if that wasn’t enough trauma, that was only adding to the baggage I had already collected in the seven years I spent with my birth family. I had been severely neglected, physically abused, witnessed drug use and alcohol abuse, exposed to sexual situations at too young of an age, malnourished, and had two siblings and a niece die as infants. My mother had a revolving door of male companions and I had no idea what functionality looked like. So, when I was placed in foster care (and then a month later placed in the home which would ultimately become my adoptive home), I was already loaded to the brim with childhood trauma—and I didn’t know how to