The Advanced Class

May 12, 2024

By Nicole

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I’m reading old journals these days. Have you ever done this? It’s telling because often when you’re in life you’re just reacting to things or trying to keep your head above water. Then life passes and you forget the details of what you went through. You may remember the highlights but those nitty gritty moments can get hazy. Journaling while you’re experiencing life is a gift you can give to your future self. Maybe even future generations.

After my mom transitioned I forgot a lot of things. Things that used to be important seemed less so. Grief overshadowed my memories and buried them. But reading these journals is a great reminder of the goodness of God in my life.

Years ago young Nicole was having a time of it in her career and romantic life. In all honesty not much has changed, although there at least has been movement on both fronts, though I have yet to reach my final destination. The thing that blesses me though is the desire I had back then to grow and please God even in the midst of the repetitive testing. I also can see that those testing times were the ones I learned the most in.

Can you relate?

It feels like I’m a student taking classes and at this juncture I am now taking advanced courses. You can’t get to the advanced courses until you take the foundation courses. In college they would call these prerequisites. At age 41 my prerequisites are certainly out of the way. 

I can see the level of difficulty advancing at every stage of life in my journals. From 2015 through ‘17 I was going through some things but now reading several years later I know that a bigger storm was brewing. In 2018 my mom died.

Can you look back in your journey and see the elevation of difficulty? You pass one test only for a harder one to be around the corner?

One beautiful thing that was happening back then though was my growth as a writer. I was going through all this opposition and standstill in my business career, my mental health was under attack, but the words were flowing. Opportunities to be a guest blogger and speaker and be interviewed on a podcast happened all on the heels of my 2nd book being published. I may not have had the financial breakthrough I desired and career elevation but my purpose was peeking out. It just didn’t look the way I thought it would.

It is now some 9 years later that I feel the bigger picture is taking shape. The waiting. The setbacks. The opposition. It was all working for my good. The Creator was telling a riveting story, one that I believe many will read. But you can’t know that when you’re in the story. There is simply no comprehending this. It’s all fragmented pieces that are slowly unfolding in your journey. The pieces are not yet put together, similar to a puzzle, and so they look random and some even unnecessary. 

I would often ask, “Lord, where are we going?” and “When are we going to get there?”

In just a few days I’ll be receiving my first award. The “Emerging Leader” Award by Career Mastered Magazine. I am floored. Never have I received an award for my work and I honestly didn’t even know that I could. On top of this award I’ve been nominated for two other awards this year. The Father is being very clear with me. It’s my time.

As I read my old journals and feel the pain from the words written, I am in awe. Some of the hardships I had forgotten about. The financial distress and struggles. The confusion of purpose. The frustration of closed door after closed door. The ever elusive promotion I just could never seem to grasp.

But now there is a reward. There are many rewards. And the puzzle is coming together. God saw what I had written. He read every word. Captured every tear. And though I forgot, He did not.

The beauty about life is that though hardships can be lurking around the corner, blessings can too.

We can easily adopt a mindset of struggle when facing seasons of struggle. I have heard it said that we are either coming out of a trial, are in a trial or about to go through a trial. But honestly I think that is the wrong mindset. I don’t think we should be looking at life that way. If we do then our expectancy will be to always be going through. Our mindset will be one of survival. 

What I’m learning is that just as we can have clusters of hardships we can have clusters of blessings. That is the essence of Amos 9:13-15.

And when we have long periods of difficulty, long periods of tests, well, that means the blessing is being stored up to be just as grandiose. Maybe even more so. 

God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). Rest assured that even if it takes some time, you will be rewarded. Sometimes in droves.

In other news…Did you know that I just dropped my debut novel When Love Wins? You can check out more here! This time around there is an audiobook in addition to the eBook and paperback versions. Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to catch special offers, discounts, insider information, and more!

Are you on Instagram/Facebook? If so, please reach out. I have a series called “Word of the Day Wednesdays” where I share 5-10 minutes worth of nuggets that are on my heart, which I hope are encouraging to others on IGTV/FB Live! I have these also posted on my Youtube Channel.

And, lastly, if you have read “Stories for the (Urban) Soul, please put up an Amazon review here. I was SUPER encouraged and blessed when a new reader put up her review for my 2nd book which you can view here :).

As always, thank you for your support!

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