Wednesday, June 30, 2010

crazy love.

inspiration: where my heart is.

i just blogged not thirty minutes ago about wanting to give more to God. this is very true, but i know that i give more to the Kingdom than i give myself credit for. i serve and i spend time with friends glorifying Him indirectly through those relationships. but i just feel like i don't spend enough time with Him, per se.

i'm about to re-read Crazy Love again, for the ump-teenth time (actually, this will only be the third). but i feel like if i can get back into the habit of reading again (and reading things that aid my relationship and walk with Christ), then i will be more content with where i am in my walk.

i know it's not about the things i do. after all it's not about good works, it's about grace and the fact that we've been redeemed. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24) it's about our hearts and our intentions. but i definitely need to get to a place where i feel like i am being all that i can be for Christ. and right now, i feel like im just going through the motions and enjoying my blessings, but not enjoying the One who is blessing me.

early morning runs.

inspiration: i've started running outside early in the morning.

so i'm training for a 5K :) and i've started running outside more just to get used to running and fighting the elements and such. this morning was a perfect day to run. a bit cool outside (perfect for a run), but a gorgeous day nonetheless ;)

it's almost become a second nature to get up early to run on mondays, wednesdays, thursdays, and saturdays because it gives me the jump-start i need to begin my day.

but lately, i've been feeling like i need to do the same thing for my spiritual life. i have gotten out of practice when it comes to spending my quiet time with God. i put it off, and put it off because i have "too much other stuff to do". i'm being blessed with so much, but i feel like i don't give enough back to the Kingdom.

i just need some prayer and spiritual motivation. i'm not a morning person, generally. nor am i really a "runner". but if i can get up in the morning and go run, why can't i give more to the Kingdom??

Monday, June 28, 2010

days go by.

inspiration: i haven't blogged in a couple days (shame on me), but i have definitely been praising God for all His amazing blessings in my life :)

Note: this is a sporadic blog post because i'm trying to just remember all the blessings i want to express!! :)

i've been hanging out a lot with brooke the past few days because she is leaving for Austria the day after tomorrow, so i won't see her for a month :( but hanging out and spending time with her has definitely been a bright blessing in my summer thus far. we've both grown so much in our spiritual and personal lives since we first met almost three years ago (crazy!) and i think i'm just so amazingly blessed to still be friends with her :)

yesterday was sunday and i served in the Grace Acres playroom. that was fun :) the sermon yesterday was really good. i definitely need to make time to really reflect over everything that was discussed...
brooke, kelsey, laura and i went to sweetberry after church and it was AMAZING!!

last week, i started an "envelope" system for my money management. except for groceries, everything i bought i used cash for and kept my receipts (when they gave them to me) and wrote everything down. i definitely was able to curb a lot of "impulse" buys doing that. tonight when im at work, i'll be analyzing what i bought and how i spent my money and start making a plan for this week :)

this morning, i successfully jump started brooke's car. :) another skill to add to my short list of skills. :)

today, i had a meeting with two of the Grace Community staff members. i'm doing some freelance web design work for them for a new "project" they're working on called Next. i'm super super super stoked about it! :) it will definitely be, i think, my way of serving the church I love with the talents that God has definitely blessed me with. I already serve in Grace Acres (and i LOOOVE it), but this is definitely another opportunity to shine the love and blessings of God through my talents :)


the days keep flying by. i'll be finished with my online class soon (woohoo!). i'll be back in school before i know it, finishing my last semester! college has been a crazy, beautiful, hectic, amazing ride of my life! :) i love it and i'm going to miss it come december, but i know that God has other amazing plans for me and i will embrace the journey that follows college :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

a letter to me.

inspiration:a reminder to stay true to myself and to be patient in waiting for the right man to come along in my life.


Dear Nikki,

You are a beautiful, strong, independent and amazing woman of God. Keep your head up through all the bad times, keep your heart humble in the good. You're independent. But don't ever let yourself become to detached from your family and friends. Don't ever change who you are to try and please someone else. Be all you can be and don't let anyone hold you back. Conquer your bucket list! Overcome your fears! Experience life to the fullest! Reflect the heart of God at all times and in all circumstances.

One day, a man will come into your life who loves you for everything you are and for everything you're not. He will be your encourager and your companion, but always remember to keep Christ as the center of your life and your relationship. Depending solely on God takes courage and strength, but He will never let you down. And as much as the man who loves you will want to be everything he can be for you, he will let you down. Forgive him. Respect him. Honor him. Love him. Through the hills, the valleys, the highs and the lows.

You deserve respect, honor, and love. If a man chooses to not treat you in this manner, he is not worth it. Guard your heart. Stay strong in faith!! Don't ever back down and don't ever be afraid to take a risk for the kingdom. Be filled with courage and compassion to those around you. Serve honorably.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

Sincerely,
Me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

reminder to myself

inspiration: i always have to remind myself...

God is always in control.
I am not.

I try to control my circumstances and worry things to completion. But the fact of the matter is, God is greater than all my problems. He is greater than all my worries. He is in control and I have to trust that He will provide me with anything and everything I need. I have to trust in His will and His plans for me rather than to try and control my own life.

Monday, June 21, 2010

puzzle lover.

inspiration: i LOVE word puzzle books.

so im a nerd and i LOVE word puzzle books.
i always try and do at least one or two puzzles before i go to bed, just to keep up with my "game" and to strengthen/enhance my logic and knowledge. (dorky, i know)

here are some quotes that were the answers to some puzzles i solved. i thought they were very uplifting/inspirational (and funny)

"Great men inspire others to greatness."

"Sit back and let the world turn by itself."
(this one speaks to me to not worry so much)

"Children know the ordinary is special."
(i can't wait to be a mother one day and to share special moments with my children)

"Confusion is a result of thinking too much."
(thought that was funny. and true to a degree ;) )

"Those who have dreams can never be poor."
(loved it.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

miss (possibly too) independent.

inspiration: i'm independent. but hopefully not too much so.

i'm an introvert by nature.
i tend to do lots of things by myself, just because i like to. even things that would, under normal circumstances, be more fun in groups: aka skydiving, road trips, etc.

i spent the first like 9 or 10 years of my life with no real "friends". i spent all my free time spending time with my parents and grandparents. the jackson's were my first real friends and luckily joyann and i are still BFFs, despite distance, life, and an age difference...

i sheltered myself a lot growing up and i've always worked hard to be the best i can be. i've been almost entirely financially independent from my parents since i was 16 (granted, they provided me with food/shelter/cell phone/health and car insurance) and have pretty much been on my own since i started college. and i got my own place last year.

i take pride in being able to support myself and being able to make my own decisions and basically not have to answer to anyone. but i also fear that i've become too independent for my own good. the thought of having someone else in my life brings me hope, but also worry and fear.
will they love me even though im messy, disorganized, and slightly dysfunctional?
what if they don't want to travel?
what if they don't like the way i keep my apartment/house?

for now, i just push those thoughts aside because i know that i want to finish school on a strong note, get a job and start building a career, and to keep a strong attitude and focus on my faith. but what if i become so enclosed and so shut-off to other people that i miss out on sharing opportunities with other people??

i may not be ready for a relationship now. and i do want to focus on myself and to be able to do things i want to do without being tied down to another person. but have i become "too" independent for my own good??

my awesome life.

inspiration: today was a great day! i had a great day seeing heather and spending time and getting to know lauren :) we actually have quite a bit in common! :)


i am constantly being reminded of just how awesome my life is and how much i truly am blessed. i got up this morning and went to the clarksville greenway to run. i did 3 miles (alternating walking and running) in 34 minutes. HUGE accomplishment in my book. i absolutely cannot WAIT to run the 5K in seven weeks (followed by a massage. that's gonna be heavenly!!)

then, i met up with lauren to go down to the boro with me to visit heather at Gov's School for the Arts. we went to chili's first and then came back to MTSU to see all the displays of artwork. it was so awesome to hear about and see all the talent the visual arts students have. my favorite was the printmaking. it's so cool the images and effects you can create! i wish i had been blessed with an artistic talent of some sort!! (all the "whining" i'll do, lauren ;))

i was also blessed with the chance to hang out with lauren to and from the boro, one-on-one. we shared a lot of stories and had some really good conversations and it was just so refreshing to hear that i'm not the only one who has truly been blessed with an awesome life, recently! :) i definitely know that my friends and Grace Community Church have both impacted me so positively! (i posted about my life a year ago here and how everything has changed so dramatically).

i truly am blessed and i'm so privileged and just humbled by how much God has blessed me. He has brought me through a lot of tough situations, brought me up from my knees, and shown me how much He loves me! through creation, through friendship, and through happiness. it's crazy to me how much i took life for granted before...it really is.

i am blessed with awesome friends and in love with an awesome God who blesses me, picks me up when i am weak, and loves me for everything i am and everything im not.

John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

my friends are the absolute greatest and i would walk to the ends of the earth to help them in any way i can. i love you guys! you're amazing!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

whats my motivation?

inspiration: my tendency to get big-headed.

i like compliments. i like to be praised. i like being respected by others.
no doubt about that.

but sometimes, i think all of that gets to my head. i get so used to thinking that people see me a certain way, that sometimes my head swells and i just become one huge ego. i like attention, but sometimes i like it too much and i crave it too much.

i get very settled and very comfortable in my routine. i start striving to do things for me; i start thinking about doing things and i have to question my motives: "How will what I do benefit others? Am I doing this because it's something I feel God calling me to do or is it something that I am doing selfishly?" it's a constant battle to keep my motives in check.

this is very common in my spiritual life, i've found. God has blessed me with certain gifts; but i'm always afraid that i will misuse them. i love sharing my story and sharing my experiences, but i'm afraid that sometimes i am talking more about myself than i am about God.

i don't ever want anything i do to become "Oh look at me and at what I did!" I would much rather it be "Look what God blessed me with the strength and ability to do."

It's not about me. It's about Him.
I have to continually ask for strength to look beyond my selfish needs. I have to continually ask myself "What's my motivation?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

more

inspiration: "More" by Matthew West

i heard this song earlier on the radio for the first time in a really long time. it was just a great reminder of God's true love! sometimes, i feel like i fail Him (and truth be told, i do), but no matter what, He still loves me. Creation screams His undying love for me! i may stumble and fall, but He loves me! More than the sun and the stars! I am His!


I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more

--"More" by Matthew West

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

it never takes long...

inspiration: it never takes God long to respond to my selfishness.

so earlier, i blogged about being upset about not having a "relationship". but it amazes me how much God reveals Himself to me when i have those moments, and not only that, but how QUICKLY He does so.

i'm a part of an amazing church family and i'm surrounded by amazing friends. and i'm reminded of that every. single. day. how could i ever be upset at God for not bringing me a "relationship" when i am surrounded by some of the best friends and family members EVER!!

i'm part of something HUGE: God's Kingdom.
i want to live a life that reflects that. i may only be one, singular person, but through myself and my life, i want to reflect the heart and mind of the One, Great, Almighty God! :)

everything in my life is a blessing. none of it is my own. i love being reminded and encouraged every single day about how amazing and wonderful my God is :)

hot and cold.

inspiration: it's hot outside; i'm feeling cold inside. also, the katy perry song =P

i need a lot of prayer.
i've just been experiencing a lot of resentment and "coldness". i would say it was aimed at the general male population, but to keep it in perspective, it's just my impatience and general angst about relationships (or, in my case, my lack of one)...

i just have to keep telling myself that God will bless me with the person He has planned for me on His timetable. the more i try and fight being patient and living a life for His glory, the more upset and dysfunctional i become. this is why i need prayer.

protecting my heart and keeping my focus on Christ is my main purpose right now.
"Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." -Proverbs 4:23

Sunday, June 13, 2010

saving faith.

inspiration: Ron's sermon this morning.

A couple quotes that stood out to me from this morning's sermon:
"Doubt, by itself, is not sin...unbelief is."
"Sometimes faith isn't getting what you want, but looking at the face of Jesus and trusting Him like you've never trusted before."

he made a point to ask "Do you trust in God to come through for you?" he illustrated his point with a story about how his son KNEW so strongly that his dad was going to come to have lunch with him that he sat in the office and waited and wouldn't go back to class. of course, ron came through for his son.

just like God will always come through for us.
it may not be at the time we want or in the way we want, but we have to TRUST in Him strong enough to never doubt.

i wonder how much in my life, i doubt the power and awesomeness of God just because things don't go the way i planned...i've gotten a lot better about trusting God and in His plans for me, no matter where they may take me; but i definitely still have a lot of room for improvement and growth.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." --Matthew 28:19-20

He will never leave us or forsake us. He promises to always come through for us.
i believe that!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ch-ch-ch-changes.

inspiration: it's amazing how God orchestrates everything. it's beautiful.

it's crazy how much has changed in my life since last year.
if i'm being honest, this time last year, i was MISERABLE. i never would've admitted it, but i was. happiness was forced for me, my spiritual life was in shambles, the relationship i was in was horrible, i was tired, worn down, defeated, and hopeless. again, i never would've admitted how exhausted mentally and emotionally i was. in fact, i never realized how exhausted i was until just now thinking back.

but now i'm probably the happiest i've ever been in my life. and i take credit for none of it. it's all God's workings; all His blessings; all His glory at work in me.

last year, i had what, on paper, was a "beautiful life". a boyfriend i loved, two jobs i enjoyed, plenty of money! but in reality, i was tired of being let down.

this year, i have infinitely more blessings than i can count! i'm single, i'm sort of a workaholic (but in a good way) and i'm broke. but i have something worth more than all that combined and multiplied by a billion: a relationship with Christ that's worth more than gold!! i have dedicated my life and heart to Him!

He has blessed me with a wonderful mixture of opportunities and they all work together so well to bring out the best of me, but more importantly, the best of my God! i work three jobs: Registration/Orientation Assistant (I absolutely LOVE it. there are long days and high-stress situations that arise at every summer welcome, but it's such a great opportunity to meet people and support my school); Admissions office (where I am blessed with the most awesome friend/mentor/co-worker, Sharon!); Mary's Music (which is the easiest job ever! i am so lucky to have been blessed with it!).

i have the greatest church home ever! i love volunteering at check-in with Grace Acres. seeing those preschoolers come in every week excited to learn about Jesus has absolutely changed my heart and disposition towards kids. no longer am i scared of them and no longer do i have the mindset of "idk if i want kids..."; now i love seeing them and i can't wait to have my own someday (a day FAR in the future!!)

God has definitely been hard at work over the past year, reshaping, revamping, and molding me into the child He wants me to be. :) i'm so blessed, it's ridiculous.

every opportunity comes together to bring His name glory.

"Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your truth, we wait eagerly for you. For your name and renown are the desire of our souls." -Isaiah 26:8

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

beautiful disaster.

inspiration: this is for my friend who I pray will trust God's plans for her despite the hard times she is encountering now. dear friend (you know who you are), i love you. you're beautiful. the pain you're experiencing now is only going to make your faith and dependence on God stronger. pain isn't fun. it isn't easy. it hurts. but seeing God's work can make all the difference. i've been where you are and i love knowing that I'm where I am today because of the grace and unconditional love of Christ.


"Before the Morning" - Josh Wilson

heartbreak: if i'm being candid and completely honest, it sucks. miserably.
i've been there. it's a long, arduous process to overcome, too. i've experienced more than my fair share of anger, resentment, hatred, bitterness, and pain. i've cried until my face was red and puffy. i've screamed for no reason. i've found myself face down on the floor just wishing it would all go away or that i could take it all back.

but God never left me in those moments, and He won't leave you either. i felt His hand on my heart every time i cried, yelled, and was lying on the floor. it always took me hitting rock bottom time and time again to realize just how much God loves me.

Psalm 13
Struggling

dear friend, over the past several months, i've hardcore battled my selfish heart in order to keep my relationship with God top priority. i, literally, have to almost write in my prayer journal "I pray that I take up my cross, die to my selfish heart, and live a life that brings glory to You" in order to force myself to really put my selfish desires aside.

and despite being single, despite the world trying to pressure me (and women, in general) to "find a man", "be strong", "get married", "have babies", despite it all, i trust in God.

He will build us up in our weakest moments. Even in the moments when we feel like God has better things to do (and I've definitely had those moments), I have to remind myself that nothing is too big or too small for God. God created the heavens and earth. He created billions of galaxies and is praised through creation every single day; yet He also knows the number of hairs on my head. Incredible!




the title of this blog is "beautiful disaster", based on Jon McLaughlin's song of the same title. sometimes it's hard to trust in God when we're afraid we'll never be "good enough". it's hard to see the beauty and blessings and awesome power of Christ because we feel like the world around us is crashing down.

but, dear friend, know that God has everything under control. He wants you to trust in Him, to find fulfillment in Him. He can handle anything and everything! His love for us is unchanging and unceasing. It's unconditional and it's powerful!


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
-Psalm 51:17


it's easier said than done, but know that His love hands-down far outweighs the love anyone else could ever have for you. His love is unfailing and undyiing. His love is powerful beyond measure. and through Christ, all things are possible :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

smiling God.

inspiration: "The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments."

--Habakkuk 3:19

When I haven't blogged for a couple days, I really start itching to do it. Sometimes because I'm struck with an idea; other times, because I feel like I need to process what's going on in my life.

I read Habakkuk 3:19 and realized how truly blessed I am.
God is truly smiling at me right now.

I told a friend yesterday that He was hardcore smiling at me. Blessing after blessing has been poured upon me. Granted, I still have a lot of stress and worry that I have to overcome, but I know that God enables me to overcome it; it is His strength in me that gets me through the hard times.

I can look back over the past year/two years and I KNOW that I am happy now because of God. Not because I am being blessed or because this isn't a "hard time". But because of what He has done for me. He has given me the strength to overcome adversity at its worst; He has given me the strength to face my giants; He has redeemed me from all the mistakes I've made; He has loved me when I was unlovable.

He is my STRENGTH.
He is my REFUGE.
He is my SAVIOR.

He is smiling at me now. I can definitely feel it. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ephesians 4:29-32



Ephesians 4:29-32:

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.



I struggle with this quite a lot. Letting past things brew inside me. Letting things that I can't control muster inside. It's definitely not something that is "helpful for building others up" in Christ. If anything, it hinders me from truly worshiping the God of redemption and forgiveness.

I've worked in the past to overcome all the bitterness, rage, anger, et al. but it never fails to creep back up on me. Mistakes and hurts of the past don’t readily go away, but I know that it's up to me to forgive others and ultimately forgive myself. The more I cling to the past, the harder it is to trust God's plans for the future.

Throughout the day, I've definitely had my heart softened to trusting God's plans.
I woke up this morning (not feeling like P. Diddy ;)) rather frazzled and upset from some crazy dreams I had. I was in a pretty hard mood and just mad about certain things that are undoubtedly waaay out of my control. But throughout the day, I've been trying to keep Ephesians 4:29-32 in the back of my mind. Especially verse 31.

Bitterness, rage, anger, et al. make for an unpleasant person. And I certainly don't want to be unpleasant. I want to glorify God and to be used for His Kingdom and an unpleasant demeanor will certainly keep me from doing so...The more I live by these words and allow them to strengthen me, the closer I am to letting the past remain the past and not becoming a problem in the future...

I pray intently for strength overcome it all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

one for the record books.

inspiration: today has been amazing.

God has definitely blessed me today.

  • worked in admissions -- found out that i can work up to like 206 hours over the course of the summer in order to get all my federal work study money. so i'm pretty much going to take advantage of working.

  • accomplished week one, day three of my walking/running plan. plus some. so very proud of myself! :) i have my first 5K picked out. it's in august. i should be adequately prepared by then, but i still have a long way to go.

  • finished week one at mary's music. loving it! :)

  • payday!

  • ...not only is it payday, but i checked my bank account and apparently, i had a $50 credit to my name, so i got an extra $50 from APSU. ka-ching!!

  • i beat Guitar Hero II

  • i am surrounded by amazing friends.

  • God is teaching me and using me so much in the lives of others. i love being able to encourage others in their faith. but it's not me. it's utterly and totally and COMPLETELY God. He is strengthening me every single day and I am so undeserving, yet so unimaginably blessed
  • .

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

accepting where i am...

inspiration: i'll always want more.

it always amazes me how caught up in the "me" things in life.
i am so blessed. sure, i have a lot of things that aren't ideal or nice or perfect. but i'm still blessed with WAY more than i deserve.

sure, i'd love to have more money.
or a boyfriend.
or a car that doesn't break down all the time.
or a nice vacation.
...and the list could go on and on and on....

but when im in moods like this (aka selfish, bratty, wishing for the greener grass), i have to just take a step back and accept where i am. it's an incredibly hard thing for me to do...i tend to expect too much of other people and not enough of God and i have that completely backwards.

my full trust should always be in God and His plans for me.
i won't always get what i want. but it's because God has something better planned down the road. i have to be patient. i have to trust Him.
but i know that by accepting where i am now and following where He leads, i won't be disappointed in the gifts He has planned for me.


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

--Psalm 23