Friday, August 20


There are days when I am begging to feel the Lord close to me.  To hear His words.  To sense his presence and understand the path He has laid out for me. 

Yesterday was one of those days.

I laid down to take a nap, my head swimming with thoughts that were consuming my every breath.  Sleep came quickly and when I woke two hours later I had lyrics to a song in my head.  I had no idea where they came from or why they were resounding so loudly in my soul.  I got up and played the song, tears filled my eyes as I listened to the lyrics.  It was my heart's cry to hear from the Lord...

There's distance in the air and I cannot make it leave
I wave my arms round about me and blow with all my might.
I cannot sense you close, though I know you're always here
But the comfort of you near is what I long for.

When I can't feel you I have learned to reach out just the same.
When I can't hear you I know you still hear every word I pray.
And I want you more than I want to live another day.
And as I wait for you, maybe I'm made more faithful.

All the folly of the past, though I know it is undone
I still feel the guilty one, still trying to make it right.
So I whisper soft your name, let it roll around my tongue,
Knowing you're the only one who knows me, you know me.

Show me how I should live this.
Show me where I should walk.
I count this world as loss to me.
You are all I want.
You are all I want.

Faithful- Brooke Fraser

I've been listening to lies for such a long time.  Lies of the enemy, when heard enough, become truths.  But God is bigger, God is greater, and He has a hold of my life.  I may not sense Him close every moment of every day but I know that He never leaves me and because of this I know that I can cry out to Him and He will hear my prayers.  I cannot wait to see the purpose that God has for me, to know why it is that I'm here... But I am earnestly seeking His will and I have faith that it will be revealed to me in time.  Until then I will wait for Him, and as I wait... I will be made more faithful.

Thursday, August 12

'Til I Only Dwell In Thee

We returned home late Wednesday night, I unpacked one bag and packed another to prepare for my flight to Colorado the next morning. 

It was really wonderful returning to the place I was raised.  It doesn't take long to forget the beauty that Colorado posesses.  The crisp evening air was a refreshing break from the muggy heat of Fort Worth.  It had been an emotional two weeks with my panic attack, deep, overwhelming depression, and Papa's funeral but somehow that all seemed to melt away as I breathed in the cool Colorado air. 

Ashley has been my best friend since I was about 10 or 11.  She knows my heart, she knows me inside and out, and I couldn't think of anyone else I wanted to spend this time of rejuvenation and relaxation with.  We had a blast the first few days simply catching up and being silly together.  Here are a few pictures from our first couple days:

Lunch at PF Chang's the day I flew in

Couldn't help it...
This was the first house I ever remember living in.  I fell out of the two story high window when I was 19 months old and was in a body cast for 3 months.  Lived here 'til I was 7. 
This was my second house I remember, lived here from 7-15. And for those of you that read my facebook status a while back about my "sex talk," well it took place on those front steps...
Ash and I took a long walk the next morning, it was gorgeous!
Then spent the afternoon at the pool
That night we headed to downtown Denver with our friend Alex and had the BEST time!

The next day Ashley and I packed up our bags and made our way to the Mountains.  We stayed at a little hotel called the Dillon Inn in Silverthorne.  It was perfect.
Then we went out to eat at Old Chicago where I fell in love with a bear:
Then went swimming/hot tubbing... sorry for the blur, it was steamy!
Then we were up early the next morning for our BIG hike to the top a a mountain... Two hours up, two hours down.
Finally made it to the top after a LONG and difficult hike!
Then we rewarded ourselves with a snack and some much needed quiet alone time with the Lord
Then we finally made it back down to the bottom... We were pooped.
We took a nap and then got dolled up for dinner. This was the view from our hotel.
The next morning we took a little drive to this pretty little part of the world...
Where there were chipmunks everywhere... this one had it out for me, I just know it.
We then made our way back to Aurora in time for some yummy dinner and yes... a double rainbow!  What does it mean?!
We went to the theatre with Ashley's boyfriend, Patrick 
and then it was time to go home.... We always take our sad goodbye pictures.  And yes we cry.  

Ashley and I spend some serious hours in deep prayer for one another.  We cried, we laughed, we learned.  I feel like God really blessed our time together and I returned home feeling very refreshed and encouraged.  I feel as if I finally found myself again.  I had been letting the things of this world, the people of this world define who I was.  The lies of the enemy had been so burned into my mind that they had become truths to me.  I am so thankful to finally find myself back in the arms of my savior.  I know that there is a long road ahead of me. I am bound to trip and fall, but I know that I have God at my side to pick me up and dust me off.  This song by Bethany Dillon has really pushed me through the past week.  I'll end on that note. :)

Who can hold the stars
And my weary heart?
Who can see everything?

I've fallen so hard
Sometimes I feel so far
But not beyond your reach

I could climb a mountain
Swim the ocean
Or do anything
But it's when you hold me
That I start unfolding
And all I can say is

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

The same sun that
Rises over castles
And welcomes the day

Spills over buildings
Into the streets
Where orphans play

And only you can see the good
In broken things
You took my heart of stone
And you made it home
And set this prisoner free

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

I'll Fly Away.

The Monday after my meeting with Morgan, Josh received a phone call that he had been dreading for months.  His grandfather, Papa, had finally gone home to be with the Lord.  After a year of suffering, a year of not eating, not drinking, and being hooked up to machines he was finally feasting with his Father in Heaven.  I was unsure of how to handle the situation.  I still felt a mess myself and wasn't sure of how to console my sobbing husband.  I cannot describe the feeling that left in my heart. 

I drove to pick Jamie up from her apartment so she wouldn't have to be alone.  She and Josh spent the remainder of the day together while I stayed hidden in my office working in front of the computer monitors. 

The next day we were on our way to East Texas to celebrate Papa's life and be with family.  During the trip up Josh's Mom called and asked if I would be willing to sing Amazing Grace at Papa's funeral the next day.  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I managed to let a quiet, "yes" escape from my lips.  I was honored to have been asked.

Our first stop was the funeral home where Steve (our Dad) was waiting out front for us.  We made our way inside to find Marsha (our Mom) standing in front of Papa's open casket.  It was a heart wrenching scene to watch as Josh collapsed in his mom's arms and they stood looking at Papa lying peacefully in his beautiful blue casket.  I had been praying desperately for strength to make it through the next two days.  I knew that Josh would need me and I knew that I didn't have strength on my own to be there for him.  God provided me with strength like no other.  We were thankful to have that time before the viewing to say our goodbyes to our Papa.  He may have only been "officially" my grandfather for 9 months, but he had been my Papa for the past 7 years and I loved him dearly. 

That night was his viewing.  We were amazed at how many people showed up to pay their respects and say goodbye to this incredible man.  People stood around telling stories while others sat and cried.  It was a melting pot of emotions.  Mimi, Papa's wife, also came to see him for the first time since his passing.  I've never known a stronger woman. 

The next morning we all dressed in our nicest clothes and headed to a beautiful white church atop a green hill in the middle of East Texas.  The same church that Mimi Papa had been attending faithfully for the past several years.   I have no clue how I made it through the beginning of the funeral.  I know it was not by my own strength because I cry at the drop of a dime.  Josh was not able to sit with me as he had the honor of being a Pallbearer with some of his other cousins.  So I sat next to my cousin Holly, tightly gripping my hands together and I looked to the sky for strength.  Before Papa's passing he had asked his granddaughter, Ashley, to sing I'll Fly Away at his funeral.  As much as it pained Ashley to know that Papa was preparing for his journey home, she agreed to do so.  She started the funeral off with her angelic voice and I could not help but smile as the words escaped her lips;

Some bright morning when this life is o'er
I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away.
I'll fly away, oh Glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have gone
I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, oh Glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away.

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet
I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, oh Glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I'll fly away.

When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away... 

She did such a beautiful job and  I am positive that Papa was standing up there in Heaven watching his gorgeous granddaughter sing to him as he danced and clapped his hands singing praises to the Lord that he was finally able to see.  

The pastor, a friend of Papa's, said a few words and then Aunt Carol, Papa's daughter, stood in front of the congregation as she bravely read a letter she had written to her departed father.  There wasn't a dry eye in the sanctuary as she took her seat.  Her words were genuine and full of love and adoration for Papa, everyone was touched.  

Before I knew it was my turn to take the mic and sing.  I made my way to the stage, grabbed the cold, heavy mic in my hand, made eye contact with the guitarist and took a deep breath as I asked God to give me the strength to make it through all five verses of Amazing Grace.  By the grace of God I made it all the way to the fifth verse before tears filled my eyes.  As soon as the final word of the song escaped my lips tears started streaming down my face.  God had given me just enough strength to make it though, I sat sobbing as the funeral ended.  I only hope that I did Papa proud. 

Papa was 84 when he passed away.  He had been married to Mimi for 59 years.  He left behind him a legacy unlike any other.  A strong, united family full of loving, strong, and compassionate people.  I am so honored to have been a part of Papa's life and will continue to life my life in a manner that he would be proud of.  

We love you and miss you deeply, Papa.

If To Distant Lands I Scatter...

I don't even know where to begin, and for me that says a lot.  Typically I have no problem whipping these little blog posts out, usually I have to scale them back just to keep them from getting too wordy!  But I have to start somewhere, so I guess it's here.

God has completely shaken my world.  This past month has been full of a lot of ups and downs.  It all started with Jamie's wedding.

Jamie and Kenneth were married on June 28, 2010 in a private ceremony at the Morgan's house.  It was beautiful, simple and to the point.

Josh and I were honored to be invited to the ceremony and afterward we all headed to Rio Mambo to celebrate their union.  The following Sunday, the Fourth of July, Jamie and Kenneth had their formal ceremony at the Fossil Creek Golf Course in Fort Worth.  It was the perfect day, just some slight winds, but blue skies and great temperatures.  The weekend was filled with events from bachelorette / lingerie parties to bridal luncheons and rehearsal dinners.  It was a great time spent with family and friends and before long they were on their way to Costa Rica to spend a week in wedded bliss on their honeymoon.  Jamie and I got to share our last name for 9 months, she is now officially a Farmer. :)

Everything after Jamie's wedding is pretty much a blur to me.  The truth is, I've been hiding.  Hiding behind  myself, Facebook, and a closed door.  My entire life I've suffered from an anxiety disorder.  Most people hear the word anxiety and overlook it as something that is controllable.  I've spent many hours dwelling on Bible verses that may help to remind me that God is bigger than any emotion and all things can be healed through Him.  This month, however it all caught up to me and my life overflowed like a volcano that just couldn't wait one more second to erupt. 

Josh and his friends took a week's long trip to Wyoming.  I was anxious about being alone.  I knew that I wasn't feeling well and was afraid of what might happen if I were left alone.  But he had this trip planned and I wanted him to go and enjoy himself with his friends.  So I made a list of things to do to keep me busy while he was away.  I painted the entire house... and yet that still was not enough to keep my mind clear and free from anxiety.  The next Monday during work, while Josh was still away, I suffered a panic attack unlike any I've had in years.  Fortunately, my brother and sister in law were nearby and they were able to make it over to be with me bringing some medication that would let me avoid a trip to the ER.  My dad's voice soothed me via cell phone as he and the rest of my family were in Pittsburgh visiting family.  I made it through the attack and slept the remainder of the day while Melanie stayed to keep me company. 

After the attack I spiraled into a serious depression.  I hit rock bottom.  Josh returned home the next night to a different woman than he had left at home 5 days before.  It was this week that I started to seriously search my heart.  My family had been dealing with a lot and I took those stresses and anxieties onto myself and added them to the big heaping pile of grime that had been building up in my own life.  After a day full of tears and countless Kleenexes I decided that I needed a vacation.  I needed to get away from the mess I felt I was sitting in and desperately wanted some very fresh air.  I called my best friend, Ashley, in Colorado and asked her if she was free the next weekend.  God is so good because in fact, she was.  I booked the a flight to Colorado.

A few nights before I left, my friend and neighbor, Morgan, called me out of the blue and I decided to head over to catch up with her.  God had been putting me on her heart for the past two weeks and she had no idea why until I sat on her couch breaking down and letting it all off my chest.  She sat and listened with a compassionate heart and gave me some incredible advice that I know came straight from the Lord.  "Nicki, have you been spending any time with God?  Do you pray throughout the day, do you journal?"  Tears filled my eyes as I shook my head no.  I was ashamed.  My relationship with the Lord has always been strong in my opinion.  I am a woman that prays, I trust in the Lord with my whole heart and thought that I was seeking His ways.  It was this night that my world was rocked.  Morgan left the room for a moment and returned with a small green journal to which she proceeded to hand to me.  It was a gift, a form of motivation you might say.  Again tears welled in my eyes as I felt so humbled before her, so loved and cared for.  I knew that I was feeling the Lord close and it was something I hadn't felt in a while.  After praying and worshiping together I made the walk back home, journal in hand.  I didn't waste a minute before I was diving into the Word for the first time in a long time....