Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She Speaks Contest
This is so cool!! Lysa Terkeurst is giving away a scholarship for the She Speaks conference this summer! The She Speaks conference is an outstanding event for women who wanted to develop their gifts and talents for speaking and writing in a professional environment! There's so much info over on her blog, go check it out!

I'm so excited about this contest, I just can't stand it!!! This is my article that I'm submitting......Oh Lord Jesus, speak through this would be a huge answer to prayer!!

Why I would Love to attend the She Speaks conference:

When I first heard about the She Speaks conference last year, I immediately began to tell my husband, this is it! This is how I'm going to be able to get my foot out there! This is how God is going to give me the confidence needed to speak His word. But after coming to realization that our fiances were not going to allow it, I began to seek God like I never have before. "Lord, will you still use me without all the fancy stuff? Even though I know you've given me a story to tell, and I have no clue as to how to do it, I want to do it now! Please God, use me in the small stuff." And so he did.

You see, I was the sold-out for Christ girl in high school. I led groups like First Priority, had bible studies in my home for the girls of my school and whenever the church doors were open, I was there. I had felt the Lord called me into the ministry at a very young age and I knew that His calling was priority in my life. I walked the straight and narrow road with high hopes of the way God would use me.

But I was a girl, a girl with a love for Christ but no plan. When shattered dreams began after not being accepted into the Christian college I had dreamed about, and finances didn't allow for me to go anywhere else, I did what a lot of seniors with let downs I didn't run to drugs, or parties or alcohol.....I ran to love. I replaced an earthly love that brought immediate satisfaction to that of the Father's love for me. You see, God was saying, "Wait upon me" and I did no such thing. I was mad at God, after all I had done for Him, all the serving, the mission trips and the sacrifices I had made in love for Him......where did He go when I needed Him the most?

Getting pregnant and married at the age of 19 isn't the most glamorous story to tell. And I had other stories to tell, I would cry out in my soul......."Lord anything but this." But God, He began to reveal to me that there was much more that just "getting pregnant at 19". After our daughter was born, a great darkness simmered over my life. I began to blame ever horrible thing that happened to my husband and I on "My Sin". This was my life now and everything bad to come was a constant punishment from God, or so I told myself. Many people in the church had turned their backs on me, long-time friends disappeared, the reality of finances set in on us with a baby on the way and I never felt so far away from God. Guilt and shame were now the crowns I wore upon my head.

Two years after our first daughter was born, trials began like I could never have imagined. A husband very sick, a daughter needing major surgery, a baby on the way and a job loss.....things became very overwhelming for me. While driving home late one night after our daughter had surgery, I was 8 months pregnant with our second. We didn't know if it was a boy or girl. I turned on our local radio station and there was a woman talking about her baby girl, Hope. She told how this baby only lived a few short months and the life-changing effect she had on so many people. I turned the radio off and I was in tears and for the first time in so long, I began to hear God speak again. He said to me, "You are having a baby girl and her name is to be Hope and she will remind you of the Hope you have in me." I cried and sped the whole way home, I called my husband who was staying with our daughter that night at the hospital and told him this news. Of course at the moment, he thought I was a bit emotional and probably just exhausted from everything.

The rest of my pregnancy continued as planned, my daughter healed from her surgery and I began to tell people the story of what happened to me that night. Often the look of "Oh my, she's lost it" was upon their faces. I even remember everyone saying, "You're having a boy." The night I went into labor I went to the hospital and the nurse I had hooked me up to the monitor and she said, "Oh ya, it's a boy." The doctor had even wrote on my chart that it was a boy! As a woman in labor and in SO much pain, I got so upset! We didn't even have a boy name picked out! I KNEW God had told me this, what on earth? Maybe I was loosing my mind.

I told the nurse my story and she was filled with so much sympathy for me. She said, "Honey, Sometimes we just don't know." As my doctor came in and said it was time to push, a rush of excitement filled the room. My mom was behind me, my husband beside me, 1.....2.....3.....push! To everyone amazement a glow filled the room as the doctor called out in a surprised voice, "It's A GIRL!!!!" Tears filled my eyes and my heart was as full of hope and love than ever before. There was NOT a dry eye in that room. God had me! And I listened.

Although things were OK at first, the reality of life began to set it again and God began to show me that there was much refining in my life that needed to happen. Slowly and surely, he began to strip it all way. We lost our home, our cars, we had medical bills galore from my husband and daughter's surgery and now a new baby. But, God, oh yes, he spoke again, and I listened. He said, "Fall in love with me again. Let me teach you and love you like never before." And I said OK, and he did.

Three years later, after a long struggle financially, emotionally and spiritually, God blessed our family with another baby girl. Her name was to be Kennedy. But not just Kennedy, but Kennedy GRACE. And every time I held that baby, I whispered in her ears...."Kennedy, you are God's grace to me." For the first time in my life, I truly began to understand and know what grace truly is.

It's through the pain, through the refining, through the hardships that we able to experience God's grace alone. Had I never been through these struggles, never experienced shame and guilt like I did......I wouldn't be able to be the person I am today. And you see, I know God has told me to share these stories and there are SO many more. Although I am a young mother to three sweet girls, God has touched my life and shown me that it is my job to show other's how I experienced Hope and Grace from the Lord through the darkest moments of my life.

It would be a vision, not a dream, a vision come true for me to be able to attend this conference. I know if this is what God has planned, then it will happen. My passion for sharing my story is real, my love for Christ is real, but my obedience is reality. Whether it's rocking babies on a Sunday morning in church, wiping noses and bottoms daily, doing endless loads of laundry, leading bible studies, writing on a blog or standing before a group of women, I will obey! Because it is through steps of obedience that I began to experience the grace God had just for me. And through three sets of blue eyes, I see his reminder of the love and forgiveness I have found in Him alone.

So sorry this is so long, but obviously I'm passionate about this!! I would love to have this opportunity to have the tools and resources available to develop God's story through this journey I'm on!


Karen said...

You have an awsome testimony! Even if it is not God's will for you to attend this seminar, I know He has plans for you to share this story with many people who need to hear that even we as Christians struggle. I will be praying for you. Might I add that I am also 27 years old without any children and girl you have many jewels in your crown for being so young with 3. God has blessed you beyond measure! said...

Nicki you have a beautiful testamony. I love how God said to fall in love with him all over again. Even in marriages that seemed doomed God makes it possible to fall in love all over.
I'm so happy you have done that.
Good luck fellow contestant.

God's Blessings,

Jenny said...

What a beautiful story! Even if you or I don't win they have a way to set up for people to donate for you to go. With your story I bet God would bless you by letting others be a part of sending you!

(But for now, we can keep praying to win!)

Kellan said...

You have certainly had your share of turmoils and have told your story so beautifully!! I wish you all the luck in the world - I will keep you in my prayers that this prayer of yours is answered. Best of luck - Kellan

Nicki said...

Ya'll are just blessing me to pieces!! Thank you all so much for your encouragement!!!

freetofly said...

Beautiful testimony! Praying for you, Nicki!

Amy E. said...

Okay, well I am sitting here crying now....Nicki, what a beautiful, beautiful testimony. You are just beautiful inside and out and I am so thankful for you, and for you sharing your story!!! It is so amazing to look back at how God worked through every situation (I'm amazed to look back at my own life too)...even though the world might have turned its back, He was always there beside you and ALWAYS will be. :)
I'm praying you'll get this scholarship!!
Love you...see you at church tonight!!

Nicki said...

Amy!! You are so sweet!! Thank you girl! I'll see ya in a bit!!

Sharon said...

I have always loved the story of you and the car and God. It touched me then and touched me again.
If this is part of Gods plan--the door will open.
He will bring you forth when your life will bring Him the greatest glory.
I think you have a beautiful heart girl--He sees you to.
He is right now working things together for your good.
I can't wait to see the path He has chosen.
Love ya girl!

Leigh Gray said...

Oh Nicki - you see - you may think you need a conference to gain confidence and it does help, but also allow His redemption in your life to be your confidence. He has brought you and Kris so far and I just sit back and praise Him. It is so beautiful!! I wish Kris could/would sit down and blog on your blog so we could see - cause I am nosey and love a good story - what the changes in you have done for him and the changes he sees in his own life. It is awesome to hear things from the man's perspective too. Clay misses Kris - he always said - that is a really good guy just waiting to be lifted up and encouraged. Under those circumstances he will flourish!! I can see that happeneing and it is beautiful and I am half way across the country!!!
I am so proud for ya'll!

Heather said...

Wow ... what a testimony you have! I'll be praying for the She Speaks to work out if it is God's will for you!

ValleyGirl said...

What a beautiful testimony, Nicki! This so reminds me of a verse I gave someone else just yesterday: His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I think your story is a perfect example of that.

I believe the Lord is using you in mighty ways, even if you don't see it, and I really hope you'll be able to attend this conference.

JenB said...

What a sweet article! I hope you get the scholarship!! I'll be praying.

Celly B said...

What a great story! I pray that God will bless your obedience.

Miss Sandy said...

Hope and grace, those are wonderful messages to share as well as names for your daughters. Beatiful testimony!

valerie said...

What a beautiful testimony and what a beautiful family. I'm praying God will use you mightily. I was blessed!

My Army Brats and Me said...

Good luck! I want it for you. That was so sweet.