A Fixer Who Trusts ‘The Fixer’

 

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Pencil erasers. White Out. Accepted tracked changes. Scotch tape. Duct tape. Super Glue. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. As imperfect human beings navigating this thing called “life,” along the way we’ve made mistakes, have had some “uh-ohs” and “oops,” typos and numerous reminders indicating that we don’t have it all together. To close these gaps in hopes to present ourselves and our situations as being “together,” we’ve created products proven most helpful for fixing things. Super Glue to help make like new that precious vase we accidentally knocked over and chipped (whoops). Duct tape for that piece or attachment that needs to hang on for a while longer so it and we can continue to function without interruption.

As a writer, proofreader and someone whose DIY home decor activities has sometimes been sheer comedy, I know a thing or two about being a “fixer.” Depending on the situation, we may feel panic when the error or incident occurs and then flooded with relief when we’re able to fix it, either through our own expertise or someone else’s expertise or created product. Whew!

repairing-glass-vase-duct-tape-bernard-katz-glass

Yet, life will place us in unprecedented situations and we scramble for solutions. “Let’s try this. Let’s try that. Maybe this here will work.” If we’re honest, our “solutions” may worsen the situation or offer no change at all, leaving us feeling flummoxed, anxious or hopeless. We’ve exhausted everything known within our finite abilities. What are we to do?

“Fix it, Jesus.”

In January, I shared with you in two blog posts a raw account of health challenges I had been facing since this past November. Having long diligence in living a healthy lifestyle, I came down with the flu and then subsequent health issues followed afterward. Several of the experiences were new to me and unnerving. The battle was physical and spiritual. In seeking deliverance from the physical symptoms the Lord assured me in that still, small voice that He would heal me. In my need to see an immediate reversal of symptoms, I would try this thing or that — but to no avail. Why didn’t I take Him at His word? The Holy Spirit told me repeatedly that He would restore me, symptom by symptom.

God desires that we come to the end of our own efforts and surrender all to Him. Eventually, I yielded. Crying out, praying. I no longer relied upon my finite expertise of trying to “fix it.” I wholly leaned on Him daily, hourly, and cast every burden upon Him (Psalm 55:22) to handle and fix in His timing. In talking with Him, I specifically told Him what I desired to see fixed.

In the passing days and weeks, the specific symptoms I prayed against were no longer. The Lord did as He said He would do. I needed to take my hands off of it and trust Him. In this process, I also spent a great deal of time in prayer, studying His Word, viewing Christian programming–just immersed. I pressed in. My mind was being renewed to trust Him even more. Anxieties about my health were being replaced with His peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Thank you Jesus!

My faith was being greatly tested and fortified. I was also becoming a greater warrior against our enemy who consistently attacked my thoughts. I got my head back through truly putting on the helmet of salvation as instructed in Ephesians 6:17 (read this article, “What Is the Helmet of Salvation?”). I learned to immediately reject Satan’s attacks and lies by countering them with God’s Word and what I knew to be true; demolishing arguments and taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This is critical. We must do this immediately as it ceases the enemy’s ability to continue in this. Trusted prayer partners joined me and stood with me in believing for my health and recovery. For their prayers, fasting and encouragement, I am so grateful.

My recovery and healing also involved obedience in practical steps I was led to take. This included identifying food allergies that were causing inflammation, juicing and eating more of a Mediterranean diet and winding down earlier for bed.

In follow up doctors’ appointments, I am pleased to report that all is “normal.” I am healthy. I have sat in quiet awe and gratitude of how good and faithful is our God. This process transformed me to love and know Him deeper. I abide in His Word and am even more emboldened to equip and encourage others in Christ Jesus.

Introspection 

“We will all encounter challenges causing us to think that God’s promises for us will “die on the vine,” says my dear brother in Christ, Hakim Hazim, co-founder of Christian think tank FreedomSquared.org. But Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) As my dear brother further shared:

“God is the great Resolver— but not before He brings us to and through those moments that will further define our walk with Him and shape us. In every challenge, God expects us to overcome it or be transformed by it. God gives strength to saints to overcome the situation and continue on — OR, He gives us the strength to be transformed by the situation and continue on. Transformation allows us to change our approach. There are things that we’re required to lay down or cast off in order to move forward (see Hebrews 12:1-2). What we have been transformed by before becomes yesterday’s manna. We now become transformed by a new mindset.”

God is a Healer. He is our Deliverer. He is a Restorer. And if we trust Him, He is indeed THE Fixer. He will fix it while He is transforming us. He is fixing our feet to be “surefooted like that of a deer, enabling us to tread upon the heights” (Habakkuk 3:19), to surmount the rugged places of life with great confidence and faith in our Almighty God.

My love to you and God bless you as you trust and believe God in your situation. Jesus will work it out  (listen to this)!

Nicole

 

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Cake Batter Mess Up

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Any bakers in the house? Those of you who’ve mastered the science of baking, I applaud you. You understand (unlike me) that baking is an exact science and you must follow the recipe to…the…letter. Don’t omit or add anything that the recipe doesn’t call for.

Cake baking is such:  1/2 cup butter (room temperature). 1 cup white sugar. 2 eggs. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder. 1/2 cup milk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9 x 9 inch pan. In medium bowl add and mix ingredients as recipe directs. Spoon batter into greased pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

If you follow the recipe to the letter, and refrain from repeatedly opening the oven door, your cake should come out beautifully. But what happens IF any ONE of the listed ingredients is not used, is substituted for something else, or creative license is applied? You got it. The cake will not turn out right. If you forget the baking powder, your cake won’t rise. Too much vigorous whisking of the batter will take the air out of your cake, making it heavy like a brick (I’ve done this, so I know). Using tableware instead of measuring spoons to measure the dry products. Again, problems.

Cake mess up

What happens when we take similar shortcuts to address societal issues? You got it. We’ll incur problems. We’ll continue to apply creative and inaccurate solutions that fall short of the desired outcome.

 

From campaigns, to governments, movements, municipalities, policymakers and frustrated publics, many of these entities have sought to apply solutions, albeit creative ones, to address and forever resolve our most pressing community, national and world issues.

Cake mess up 2

For gun violence, some recommend taking people’s guns. But if you deny someone a gun who is morally debased, they will surely use a knife, their hands or other means to inflict harm upon others. It’s not the weapon, it’s their heart, that’s flawed.

Like forgetting to add baking soda to your cake batter, solutions developed that exclude Jesus Christ from the mix, will continue to fall flat of the behaviorial transformations we desire to see in one another.

Jesus calls us to love one another. It’s His amazing love that transforms people and situations. Without inviting Jesus Christ to change one heart at a time, the millions of dollars and hours spent to advance change will fail. 

It will fail because many subscribe to the belief that people are born “good.” But in fact, there was nothing innocent about any of us when we were born. We were all born into sin, into a fallen nature.

Dr. Gary Roberts, Regent University Robertson School of Government professor, wrote:

“Our world’s spiritual and cultural economy is the aggregated product of collective decisions made by individuals, families, and social institutions. This world is in a fallen state (Romans 5:12, Ephesians 6:12), hence, it is a battleground between good, evil and human indifference. The end result is individual and collective evil and sin, errors of commission and omission, evil thoughts, words and deeds that estrange us from God, ourselves and others (Romans 6:16).”

As a dear sister in Christ said in reference to mankind’s fallen nature before a holy God, “We underestimate our sin. We underestimate who we are.”

Putting on the righteousness of Jesus Christ and yielding our lives to the Holy Spirit is how we overcome our self-tendencies so we can extend goodness, kindness, love, patience and peace toward others.

No shortcuts. Add Jesus Christ to the mix of our mess.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

You May Not Recognize Me

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

For the past four to five months I’ve been in transition and transformation. Still undergoing both, joyfully and in God’s perfect peace, in spite of changes. Leaving the familiar behind and entering the unfamiliar. I’ve considered this time a luxury and privilege as I daily experience God’s unending grace, mercies and unmerited favor as He continues to shape and shed me. I began undergoing the process even before this period. Spending more time in God’s Presence, I thought I’d already shed things unnecessary and a distraction to the journey. Changes in what music I listen to. Changes in what I choose to watch on television and let enter my environment. Changes to relationships, profession and things previously familiar, mastered and comfortable.

God is shedding and shifting, and my thoughts have transformed because of. While I certainly wasn’t a conformist with society before, I am truly a stranger to it now. Simply leading a ministry named “Voices Against the Grain” pits me against a world that desires to conform with the norms. Indeed, this factor alone has placed me in some isolated spaces, but I’m good with that.

My thinking on another level is causing a separation from the familiar and the tolerable. 

Seldom are transitions cut and dry. The process can be messy and not a straight line. While the journey has presented some discomfort, I am excited and expectant for the next step. I asked God for the transition because I desire to be the highest representation of who He has called me to be. I would never become this staying in the old space. The previous space was becoming too small, too tight. Frankly, I’ve outgrown it.

Being birthed from the old and into the new space, that could be messy too. Therefore, you may not recognize me. What I’ve learned is that people are uncomfortable with the “you” they don’t recognize because it is contrary to how they’ve always seen you. But in fact, we should all hope to evolve, to be transformed and transitioned, when God has planted greatness inside us that is yet to be unpackaged. Heaven forbid if the caterpillar remained unchanged and never transformed into a butterfly; never becoming a pollinator of flowers and vegetation, helping them grow and bear fruit.

Romans 12 2 gray

In the birthing into this new space, I am grateful for the midwives God has provided me along the way. Prayers and the wise counsel of select brothers and sisters in Christ have benefited me greatly. Their value is immense.

The transition and transformation doesn’t make me better than you. I’ll still have flaws. I’ll still tell you the truth, but prayerfully with more compassion and kindness. I’ll exercise greater patience toward those who drag their feet/don’t get on board as quickly as I’d prefer.

Are you in a familiar space that is becoming too tight, too confined? Do you have the same thoughts, same ideas, revert to the same patterns with the same, tired results? To truly experience the highest representation of who God has called you to be, are you willing to be transformed and transitioned—even if it means your temporary discomfort, entering the unfamiliar, shedding old thoughts, old places and some people—and becoming unrecognizable before some?

The good news: should you embrace this journey, God is there with you! God bless you.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2, New International Version 

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

Being Transformed Step by Step

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Since early 2013 to-date, I’ve witnessed transformations God has made in my life—some visible to others and some not. Some of the transformations only I am privy to, which makes the internal testimony and affirmation of His work even greater to me. The habitual planner in me has handed the reins over to Him, allowing Him to prepare my next steps.  I am already experiencing the fruit of this transformation by allowing Him to lead, trusting Him to bring it all together in His perfect way. While I like details, in this case I don’t have to know how He’s going to work it out. It’s an act of faith and trust that I am enjoying too! Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (New American Standard Bible) Believe it!

Are you ready to experience the same? You won’t regret it. Today’s post is from the daily devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Each devotional is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to you.

LET MY LOVE ENFOLD YOU in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.

Through the intimacy of our relationship, you are being transformed from the inside out. As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.   Let-God-Hold-Your-Hand

Accompanying Scriptures: Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Psalm 73:23-24, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24- You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into your glory.” (New International Version)